While Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad wants to strengthen “good relations” with China, he called on Chinese investors to offer more benefits to local players.
The 92-year old leader revealed that Malaysia welcomes foreign investments that transferred technology and skills, added jobs at all levels and widened the global market for Malaysian products.
“I have always regarded China as a good neighbour, and also as a very big market for whatever it is that we produce. Malaysia is a trading nation. We need markets, so we can’t quarrel with such a big market,” he said during an interview with South China Morning Post.
According to him, Malaysia and China enjoyed “a very good relationship” during his first stint as Prime Minister.
However, his less-than-favourable view concerning some Chinese-backed transactions that are deemed overpriced and lopsided against the interest of Malaysians, did not mean he was hostile towards China.
“When it involves giving contracts to China, borrowing huge sums of money from China, and the contract goes to China, and China contractors prefer to use their own workers from China, use everything imported from China, even the payment is not made here, it’s made in China … that kind of contract is not something that I welcome.”
He underscored that sketchy deals would not pass under his leadership.
In fact, he slammed his predecessor Datuk Seri Najib Razak for being too lax in approving Chinese-backed projects that provided little value to Malaysians.
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Among his gripes was the US$100 billion (RM401 billion) Forest City project in Johor. Mahathir believes the housing units within the project, which is a joint venture between Chinese property developer Country Garden Holdings and the state’s monarch, will likely be dominated by wealthy Chinese nationals as they are beyond the reach of most Malaysians.
“We don’t want to have whole cities built in Malaysia [by developers who then bring in] foreigners to stay there. That is what I am against,” he explained. “I am against it even if [the investment is] from India or from Arab countries or from Europe.”
“Foreign immigrants in huge numbers, nobody will welcome, certainly not in Malaysia.”
Image sourced from Malay Mail Online
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