New York Times : Malaysia pushes back against China’s Vision


August 24, 2018

New York Times :Malaysia pushes back against China’s Vision on account of Najib Razak’s stupidity

KUANTAN, Malaysia — In the world’s most vital maritime chokepoint, through which much of Asian trade passes, a Chinese power company is investing in a deepwater port large enough to host an aircraft carrier. Another state-owned Chinese company is revamping a harbor along the fiercely contested South China Sea.

Nearby, a rail network mostly financed by a Chinese government bank is being built to speed Chinese goods along a new Silk Road. And a Chinese developer is creating four artificial islands that could become home to nearly three-quarters of a million people and are being heavily marketed to Chinese citizens.

Each of these projects is being built in Malaysia, a Southeast Asian democracy at the heart of China’s effort to gain global influence.

But where Malaysia once led the pack in courting Chinese investment, it is now on the front edge of a new phenomenon: a pushback against Beijing as nations fear becoming overly indebted for projects that are neither viable nor necessary — except in their strategic value to China or use in propping up friendly strongmen.

At the end of a five-day visit in Beijing, Malaysia’s new leader, Mahathir Mohamad, said on Tuesday that he was halting two major Chinese-linked projects, worth more than $22 billion, amid accusations that his predecessor’s government knowingly signed bad deals with China to bail out a graft-plagued state investment fund and bankroll his continuing grip on power.

His message throughout his meetings with officials, and in public comments, has been unambiguous.

“We do not want a situation where there is a new version of colonialism happening because poor countries are unable to compete with rich countries,” Mr. Mahathir said on Monday at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing after meeting with Premier Li Keqiang.

For a time it appeared that China’s standard playbook for gaining favor was working in Malaysia. It had successfully courted Mr. Mahathir’s predecessor, Najib Razak, with easy loans and showcase projects, and secured deals that were of strategic value for its ambitions.

But in May, Mr. Najib was voted out of office by an electorate tired of the corruption scandals swirling around him, some of which involved China’s highest-profile investment deals in Malaysia.

Mr. Mahathir, 93, was voted into office with a mandate that included getting the country out from under its suffocating debt — roughly $250 billion of it, some of it owed to Chinese companies.

From Sri Lanka and Djibouti to Myanmar and Montenegro, many recipients of cash from Chinese’s huge infrastructure financing campaign, the Belt and Road Initiative, have discovered that Chinese investment brings with it less-savory accompaniments, including closed bidding processes that result in inflated contracts and influxes of Chinese labor at the expense of local workers.

Fears are growing that China is using its overseas spending spree to gain footholds in some of the world’s most strategic places, and perhaps even deliberately luring vulnerable nations into debt traps to increase China’s dominion as the United States’ influence fades in the developing world.

“The Chinese must have been thinking, ‘We can pick things up for cheap here,” said Khor Yu Leng, a Malaysian political economist who has been researching China’s investments in Southeast Asia. “They’ve got enough patient capital to play the long game, wait for the local boys to overextend and then come in and take all that equity for China.”

In his action in Beijing on Tuesday, Mr. Mahathir said he was halting a contract for the China Communications Construction Company to build the East Coast Rail Link, thought to have cost the government around $20 billion, along with a $2.5 billion agreement for an arm of a Chinese energy giant to construct gas pipelines. He had earlier suspended the projects, leading some analysts to believe he wanted to renegotiate the terms during his China trip. Instead, he announced that the deals were off for now.

“It’s all about borrowing too much money, which we cannot afford and cannot repay because we don’t need these projects in Malaysia,” Mr. Mahathir said.

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Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has been given an electoral mandate to guide Malaysia out from under $250 billion in debt, some of it owed to Chinese companies.Credit Adam Dean for The New York Times

A rooftop bar at Melaka Gateway.CreditLauren DeCicca for The New York Times

A Pentagon report released last week said “The ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ (BRI) is intended to develop strong economic ties with other countries, shape their interests to align with China’s and deter confrontation or criticism of China’s approach to sensitive issues.”

“Countries participating in BRI could develop economic dependence on Chinese capital, which China could leverage to achieve its interests,” the report said.

Malaysia’s new Finance Minister, Lim Guan Eng, raised the example of Sri Lanka, where a deepwater port built by a Chinese state-owned company failed to attract much business. The indebted South Asian island nation was compelled to hand over to China a 99-year lease on the port and more land near it, giving Beijing an outpost near one of its busiest shipping lanes.

“We don’t want a situation like Sri Lanka where they couldn’t pay and the Chinese ended up taking over the project,” Mr. Lim said.

In a recent interview with The New York Times, Mr. Mahathir made clear what he thought of China’s strategy.

“They know that when they lend big sums of money to a poor country, in the end they may have to take the project for themselves,” he said.

 

“China knows very well that it had to deal with unequal treaties in the past imposed upon China by Western powers,” Mr. Mahathir added, referring to the concessions China had to give after its defeat in the opium wars. “So China should be sympathetic toward us. They know we cannot afford this.”

Strategic Location

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The Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park.CreditLauren DeCicca for The New York Times

Malaysia has long served as a prize of empire, with a geopolitical importance that belies its relatively small size. The Portuguese, Dutch and British flocked here, eager to control a fulcrum linking the Pacific and Indian Oceans. China is the latest power to try to share in the riches.

Kuantan, a Malaysian city nestled on the South China Sea coast, had never been a hot spot. But then China began adding military heft to its territorial aspirations in the sea, where five other governments, Malaysia’s included, have competing claims.

Chinese financing began washing over Kuantan five years ago. Guangxi Beibu Gulf International Port Group, a state-owned firm from an obscure Chinese autonomous region, won a contract supported by the Malaysian government to build a deepwater terminal and industrial park. Nearby was a planned stop on the East Coast Rail Link that would mostly be financed by the Export-Import Bank of China, a government institution.

Presiding over the official launch for the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park in 2013, Mr. Najib conferred on the project a global import.

“China and Malaysia remain closely connected at a time when the balance of global trade is tilting in Asia’s direction,” he said. “On economic cooperation — and diplomatic — I am proud to say that Malaysia is ahead of the curve.”

Kuantan residents, though, have long worried that the city could be saddled with white-elephant projects.

“We welcome foreign investment and development, but we question the huge price that we will have to pay,” said Fuziah Salleh, a Kuantan lawmaker for Malaysia’s new governing coalition. “Who is the real beneficiary of all this financing? The Malaysians or the Chinese?”

“I am worried that our sovereignty has been sold,” Ms. Fuziah said.

Mr. Mahathir, however, is not averse to standing up to the superpower of the day. He was Prime Minister before, from 1981 to 2003, and back then he railed against the United States and other Western countries for what he said was a plot to hold back developing nations like Malaysia.

“Mahathir thinks China is a hegemonic force that can control economies like Malaysia,” said Edmund Terence Gomez, a political economist at the University of Malaya. “He’s always been worried about powerful forces. Before it was the U.S., now it’s China.”

 

The United States Department of Justice has accused Mr. Najib and his family and friends of plundering billions of dollars from that fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad, or 1MDB. When the indebted fund began a fire sale of assets, two Chinese state-owned giants, the China General Nuclear Power Corporation and the China Railway Engineering Corporation, moved in, prompting speculation that Beijing was happy to keep Mr. Najib’s cash-strapped government afloat.

The United States Department of Justice has accused Mr. Najib and his family and friends of plundering billions of dollars from that fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad, or 1MDB. When the indebted fund began a fire sale of assets, two Chinese state-owned giants, the China General Nuclear Power Corporation and the China Railway Engineering Corporation, moved in, prompting speculation that Beijing was happy to keep Mr. Najib’s cash-strapped government afloat.

Sitting at his desk during an interview after the election, Mr. Mahathir pointed to a sheaf of papers before him. It was a proposal from a Malaysian construction company that he said contained evidence that the East Coast Rail Link could have been developed by a Malaysian company for less than half of the $13.4 billion contract won by the China Communications Construction Company, a state-owned Chinese firm with extensive operations overseas.

Notably, the bidding process for the rail contract was closed.

Last week, Mr. Lim, the Finance Minister, told Parliament that Malaysia would not be able to cover the operational cost for the railway, much less the capital expenditure, which he estimated at nearly $20 billion rather than $13.4 billion.

Neither the Chinese company nor its Malaysian partner responded to requests for comment.

“It looks like not all the money is being used for building the railway line,” Mr. Mahathir said of the East Coast Rail Link deal. “The likelihood is the money has been stolen.”

Malaysian investigators are looking into whether an associate of Mr. Najib’s stepson may have brokered the rail deal to alleviate the debt accrued by 1MDB or to fund Mr. Najib’s re-election campaign.

The United States Treasury Department considers that associate, Jho Low, an exiled financier who has an arrest warrant out on him, to be the prime agent in the 1MDB scandal. On the eve of Mr. Mahathir’s trip to China, Malaysian finance ministry officials said they believed that Mr. Low had been hiding out in China.

Malaysia’s new administration, which unseated a coalition that had ruled, in one form or another, since independence in 1957, has also been scrutinizing the $2.5 billion deal for a subsidiary of the China National Petroleum Corporation to build energy pipelines in Malaysia. Mr. Lim said he had discovered upon taking up his post that the Malaysian government had already disbursed more than $2 billion for the project.

There was one catch. “From what we understand,” Mr. Lim said, “zero percent of the construction work has been carried out.”

Building Big Ports

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Melaka Gateway includes three artificial islands and an expanded natural islet.CreditLauren DeCicca for The New York Times

While the role of Chinese money in bailing out Mr. Najib’s indebted administration has received the most attention, another Chinese megaproject raises even sharper questions about Beijing’s geopolitical aims.

The Malaysian city of Malacca was once a conduit for spices and treasures that flowed from Asia to Europe. The strait named after the city is still the channel through which much of Asia’s seaborne trade — and most of China’s oil imports — flows.

But Malacca’s port silted up centuries ago and is now a backwater. Instead, nearby Singapore, which sits at the southern end of the Strait of Malacca, ranks as the world’s busiest transshipment hub.

A $10 billion development project — backed by PowerChina International, a major Chinese utility, and two Chinese port developers — is supposed to propel Malacca back into global significance, as a vital stop on a maritime trade route that stretches from Shanghai to Rotterdam.

The plan for this project, Melaka Gateway, includes three artificial islands and an expanded natural islet, which will hold an industrial park, cruise terminal, theme park, marina, offshore financial hub and self-styled seven-star hotel.

And there will be a new deepwater port, with berths large enough to host an aircraft carrier. The port operator was given a 99-year lease for the deepwater terminal, rather than the more common 30-year time frame.

The local partner in Melaka Gateway is KAJ Development, which counts among its previous accomplishments building the local zoo and bird park.

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Chinese tourists posing in front of an “I Love Melaka” sign in Malacca.Credit Lauren DeCicca for The New York Times
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A road worker sweeping near the entrance to Melaka Gateway .Credit Lauren DeCicca for The New York Times

To explain how a little-known company was able to work with Chinese firms to transform such a strategic spot, locals have remarked on the close ties between the head of KAJ Development and Mr. Najib’s party machine. The company did not respond to a request for comment.

“We have so many questions about the project but no answers,” said Sim Tong Him, a former lawmaker from Malacca. “How did KAJ get the contract? What might happen if the Malaysian side can’t pay up? The Chinese are so secretive about this. It leaves us with a very bad feeling.”

Malacca State’s new Chief Minister has promised an investigation into the feasibility of the entire project, including the possibility that land on one island could be sold as a freehold to a Chinese state-owned company.

Melaka Gateway’s necessity, at least for locals, has never been clear. After all, the nearby Singaporean port is unlikely to be eclipsed. And Malaysia is already expanding other ports, even as many are running under capacity.

“We are very concerned because in the first place we don’t need any extra harbor,” Mr. Mahathir said of the Malacca project.

“We don’t have to depend upon foreigners to come,” he added. “When they build, they use foreign labor, foreign materials. What do we get? Nothing.”

But Beijing has funded the building of ports across the Indian Ocean, a strategy known as the string of pearls. Military experts have raised the possibility that these ports could one day welcome Chinese warships and submarines.

“You look at a map and you can see the places where China is plotting ports and investments, from Myanmar to Pakistan to Sri Lanka, on toward Djibouti,” said Liew Chin Tong, Malaysia’s Deputy Defense Minister. “What’s crucial to all that? Our little Malaysia, and the Malacca Strait.”

Under Mr. Najib, Malaysia conducted joint military drills with China and allowed Chinese attack submarines to make a port call. Mr. Mahathir has shifted course.

“I say publicly that we do not want to see warships in the Strait of Malacca or the South China Sea,” he said.

 

Melaka Gateway’s necessity, at least for locals, has never been clear. After all, the nearby Singaporean port is unlikely to be eclipsed. And Malaysia is already expanding other ports, even as many are running under capacity.

“We are very concerned because in the first place we don’t need any extra harbor,” Mr. Mahathir said of the Malacca project.

“We don’t have to depend upon foreigners to come,” he added. “When they build, they use foreign labor, foreign materials. What do we get? Nothing.”

But Beijing has funded the building of ports across the Indian Ocean, a strategy known as the string of pearls. Military experts have raised the possibility that these ports could one day welcome Chinese warships and submarines.

“You look at a map and you can see the places where China is plotting ports and investments, from Myanmar to Pakistan to Sri Lanka, on toward Djibouti,” said Liew Chin Tong, Malaysia’s deputy defense minister. “What’s crucial to all that? Our little Malaysia, and the Malacca Strait.”

Under Mr. Najib, Malaysia conducted joint military drills with China and allowed Chinese attack submarines to make a port call. Mr. Mahathir has shifted course.

“I say publicly that we do not want to see warships in the Strait of Malacca or the South China Sea,” he said.

City of Dreams

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A showroom model of Forest City, a China-financed real estate project in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. Credit Lauren DeCicca for The New York Times

In Forest City, a new metropolis being built at the tail end of the Malaysian peninsula, a tour guide gazed up at a bank of screens showcasing the latest in Chinese facial-recognition technology, and gave his best pitch to a group of would-be investors from a coal town in northern China.

Forest City, he said in Mandarin, was a jewel on the South China Sea.

Best of all, he said, everything in the city was designed for a Chinese clientele, from the layout of the luxury apartments to the signage in Mandarin.

The development — four artificial islands covering around eight square miles, or enough space for around 700,000 people — was conceived of by Country Garden, one of the largest private Chinese property developers, in cooperation with an investment entity whose largest shareholder is the local sultan.

In the sales gallery, an electronic display plays up Forest City’s “strategic location” and places it at the center of a map of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative projects.

“We are doing something that will alter the world map,” the sales pitch reads.

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Forest City showroom employees putting on a show in Chinese for the children of prospective buyers.Credit Lauren DeCicca for The New York Times
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Ceramic sea lions on the beach at Forest City.Credit Lauren DeCicca for The New York Times

Affirmative action programs that gained full force during Mr. Mahathir’s first stint as prime minister ensure that Malays and indigenous populations get a leg up over ethnic Chinese Malaysians.

More than any other project, Forest City helped turn local sentiment against Chinese cash, amid suspicions that a private Chinese property developer was somehow secretly plotting to reshape Malaysia’s delicate ethnic balance.

“This is not Chinese investment but a settlement,” Mr. Mahathir said during the election campaign, using Forest City as a frequent punching bag.

Forest City is not a strategic play by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army to station warships in Malaysia. Nor is it viewed as a way for Beijing to finance the excesses of a corrupt leader. Instead, it represents something even more alarming to the average Malaysian — four man-made islands on which Chinese can live as they like and, in the process, dilute the Malaysian national identity.

Although the majority of Malaysians are Malay Muslims, the country’s second largest ethnic group is Chinese, followed by an Indian population. Many Chinese migrated to Malaysia during the colonial era, and the feeling that they were given preferential treatment by the British lingers to this day.

Affirmative action programs that gained full force during Mr. Mahathir’s first stint as prime minister ensure that Malays and indigenous populations get a leg up over ethnic Chinese Malaysians.

More than any other project, Forest City helped turn local sentiment against Chinese cash, amid suspicions that a private Chinese property developer was somehow secretly plotting to reshape Malaysia’s delicate ethnic balance.

“This is not Chinese investment but a settlement,” Mr. Mahathir said during the election campaign, using Forest City as a frequent punching bag.

Forest City is not a strategic play by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army to station warships in Malaysia. Nor is it viewed as a way for Beijing to finance the excesses of a corrupt leader. Instead, it represents something even more alarming to the average Malaysian — four man-made islands on which Chinese can live as they like and, in the process, dilute the Malaysian national identity.

Although the majority of Malaysians are Malay Muslims, the country’s second largest ethnic group is Chinese, followed by an Indian population. Many Chinese migrated to Malaysia during the colonial era, and the feeling that they were given preferential treatment by the British lingers to this day.

In that context, the prospect of a new wave of Chinese migration, even if only a population of part-time sunbirds, is politically sensitive in Malaysia.

But what if that wave doesn’t even materialize? Capital controls in China have made it far more difficult for Chinese to get their money out to pay for overseas real estate, worrying the Mandarin-speaking sales staff at Forest City. Who will buy all these condominiums, which are priced far above the local property market, if not the Chinese?

“We all want Forest City to succeed, because we cannot afford for it to fail and become an empty ghost city,” said Wong Shu Qi, a member of parliament for the Democratic Action Party, which is part of the governing coalition.

“The reality is that wishing for a Chinese concession in Malaysia is the best thing we can hope for,” she added. “How sad is that?”

Sharon Tan contributed reporting.

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Second Thoughts on a Chinese Spending Spree.

 

28 thoughts on “New York Times : Malaysia pushes back against China’s Vision

  1. //“The reality is that wishing for a Chinese concession in Malaysia is the best thing we can hope for,” she added. “How sad is that?”
    yes. how sad is that.

  2. Being away from Malysia for sometime now I am shell shocked by these revelations. Of course it was widely know that Najib had sold his soul to the Chinese. But the country as well! And now we have him and UMNO and MCA goons sniping at the new government. I think Dr Mahathir should retain the security laws that Najib introduced to deal with the new threats now facing th country. And perhaps have a royal commission to determine the actual extend of the financial damage inflicted by the previous BN government.

  3. Ironic — our local race supremacists sell out the country to a foreign power, to obtain $$$ to bail them out of their kleptocratic financial excesses.
    (Compare with the white supremacists in the USA who support a President who colludes (in a traitorous way?) with a major foreign, rival superpower).

  4. It looks like Mahathir has given up blaming China for their corporate behaviour. Did he get awed and dazzled, lost his guts or just never had it in him.

  5. Dear Dr. Phua, Americans wrote the Manchurian Candidate, and now, lo and behold, they have their very own Manchurian Candidate. Having said that, in Malaysia, we have political parties which shout about the race supremacy, but who are doing their utmost to keep the Malays poor, so that they can be used to do their biddings using dedak.
    If the Chinese or rather CCCC feels ECRL is God’s gift to mankind why don’t they take over as owner of the project and we Malaysian revamp our “Golden Blowpipe” line from Johor Bahru via Gemas to Tumpat and beyond wit some re-alignmant and making it double track killing 2 birds with on stone and doing away with both ECRL ans HSL which we cannot afford. ERCL with operating expenses of half to one billion RM per year will bleed to death.

  6. Is anyone really interested in the actual state of affairs with ECRL and the other FUBARs, beyond the polemics? Let everything be divulged in a proper inquiry. I don’t like RCIs, as they are have lil or no binding legal implications. Perhaps the debate should be in a special session in Parliament – with the Speaker as the moderator?

    It’s about time we see the figures, costing, projected ROIs’ and spin-offs etc As much as i distrust KleptoMo1, i do too, Octo and his water-boy – the dry Thunder Tokong. Let the public judge for themselves between these two ‘conflicting’ sets of figures. I doubt it will settle anything but at least it gives us a better perspective, instead of them yodeling across mountain tops into tunnels.

    As for the the contracts, it will be impossible to verify due to the commercial legalities, but who is to say the Tokong is right? But i guess all the Mahacais’ have concluded that their Prophet Tokong is yodeling the Truth – like RM 1 billion maintenance annually.. Where do these figures come from?

    I would also like to:
    1. Claim back my AES fines, which has been forthwith canceled by that Bloke, Anthony:
    2. My GST input tax claims asap as i’ve been suffering from cash-flow depredations like the past and present Gomen;
    3. My LHDN/IRB reclaims, as promised by Tokong.

    Strange cult, the Tokongs.. Very syncrestic in their pantheon of deities..

  7. Btw, yours truly was right about Octo’s useless sojourn to PRC to tete-a-tete Taikor. All it did was to piss Winnie the Pooh off. LaMoy is right too, but the reasons were more nuanced than ‘mere business’..

    No worries, DAP and their most awesome Chairman cum Special Envoy shorty will serve musang king and class AA++ birdnest soup in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People together with Uncle Kit. But to no avail.

    I think i’ll join KMT, like my granddad – at least i’ll be seen as friendly to CCP and the One China Policy? Maybe migrate to Typhoon wracked Taiwan, then to New Jersey, like my elder brother? Trade related issues as PRC is our largest trade partner ya..

  8. Unlike the opium trade agreement, where guns were shafted into throat of the Chinese Government, Malaysian government was never forced to sign the agreement.

    Everything written in this piece is negative, totally anti-China, with the aim of driving a wedge into relationship between China and Malaysia which was among the early countries which recognised China as a UN member and established diplomatic relationship.

    There must be some mutual benefits that should come out of these projects for both countries that the writer just simply ignored, so is the intention of writing this piece .

    • Granted that the previous regime of DSNR signed the Agreements in their desperate act of filling the 1MDB hole, the PH Government had only exercised its right to terminate the project base on 2 crucial factors
      1.The inability of the Malaysian Government to sustain such crippling debt and
      2. The country has no need for such project at this time in history.
      If KLLAUKL cannot understand these, the so be it.

    • Rule of Laws applies and are binding.

      PH or any subsequent government has NO rights to UNILATERALLY terminate the agreement, unless there is a escape clause.

      Even ” if KLLAUKL cannot undrestand these ”….., a half-past-six reader would have understood.

    • China profess to fighting corruption in their own country but can we say that their behavior in dealing with foreign countries reflect this stand or are they hypocritical. If inducement is offered to the other party to sign the contract, then it is null and void. Watch out for developments.

    • Stop beating around the bush with Irrelevancy !

      Once you put your signature on the agreement with another party, you are fully committed and responsible to carry out and perform according to the terms and conditions stated in the agreement.

      THERE ARE NO ” Ifs ” and/or “Buts” period.

    • The Agreements are illegal by international law as there are elements of corruption and money laundering involved.

  9. Ironic indeed, when the west are accusing the PRC of doing what their World Bank and IMF have done all the time. This tendency is called projection. Indonesians still remember how IMF’s Camdesuss stood imperiously with folded arms staring at visibly cowed Suharto signing away the store, causing riots and downfall of his rule.

    Let us all collate the reactions of countries receiving PRC aid themselves instead of relying on what Trump calls fake news from NYT, etc. Also, I doubt Dr M returned from China with nothing. The lethality of Western aid, as proven by John Perkins “Confessions of an Economic Hitman” is the military menace behind it, something confirmed by none other than globalization champion Thomas Friedman.

    I don’t like the Beijing regime, but their R & B isn’t the reason. The PRC media tend to be more scared of my questioning their legitimacy to socialist rule.

  10. “I say publicly that we do not want to see warships in the Strait of Malacca or the South China Sea,” he said

    No, Mahathir has not shifted course, he wanted All warships to be away from the South China Sea, including that of the US’s. Liew Chin Tong’s suggestion was published right here on this website, and I congratulated him for that. Lying by omission is a speciality of Western fake news.

    • Yes, He has not shifted course. He said Malaysia could not afford HSR 2 days ago. Now he says he is exploring other options, and hope to get loans from Japan, but just no more loans from China. At 93, his face might look kinder. But, he is still the same, always scheming of ways to explore hateful rhetoric. I guess this is the Tao of high power pragmatic diplomacy, and getting ahead in life. Yeah right, for those who truly believe in that, go work for my Potus’ administration. At 93, Tun Dr’s being PM, only says one thing. The nation is beyond sick. Second caste reading this should really consider what @CLF’s suggestion. For the first, be like Dr Bakri, for the sanity of your mind and soul.

  11. Semanjong M’sia is a small land mass with no place > than 100 -150 miles from the sea. Why build big new ports in Malacca, Pulau Carey etc. Where are the ships going to come from. As it is too many small existing ports competing for same cargo. For Malacca & Pulau Carey, Port Klang is nearby & containers carried by trunks. Instead of sea ports follow the example of Ipoh Cargo Terminal ( also known as dry port.) & is able to service the Kinta Valley hinterland. Prudent to build more such ports. All you need is a dedicated railway line or good highways to connect with hinterland. The Chinese just want to profit at our expense. It’s economic colonization & has happened in parts of Africa, Sri Langka & now M’sia. The BN govt, had ulterior motives & encouraged the Chinese to give loans which would be hard to service.

    • For opening Malaysia to foreign domination and re-colonization, and economic treason, the previous regime should be charged for treason.

  12. They are all the views of one person or a group. Drawing conclusions based on them is done at our own peril, particularly when it relats to super powers.

  13. When we talk about similarities with colonialism or John Perkins’ “Confessions of an Economic Hitman” we should first read the topic or book in question and reflect on what they entail. No colonialist ever goes to a place and say, hey I like your country, let’s sign a treaty to transfer your wealth, your lands to me. Such a person would probably be laughed at, and likely arrested and perhaps even executed.

    Colonialism took place on a massive scale from 17th century onwards because the Western colonialists could always back their demands with guns, a feature that gave rise to the saying “gunboat diplomacy.” Without the gun, the other side could simply tear up any agreement. This is what Thomas Friedman called the “the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley’s technologies to flourish … the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps.”

    The loss of sovereignty in many of the world’s countries, including the former Malay states, Indonesia, Burma, IndoChina, and China itself was due to the weakness of Third World countries and the gunboat diplomacy of the West.

    The Chinese did not point a gun at Najib, and knew all the time they would be helpless if Malaysia rejects the projects (this happened years ago to China’s railroad project in Mexico as well). And Mahathir too, had in friendship told the Chinese that they blamed Najib for the mess, which testifies to the diplomatic skills of our 73 year-old leader.

    Actually Perkin’s book is more about imperialism than just economic colonialism. The projects he narrated were not up to the recipient countries to agree or not: either those countries accept or they might find their leaders blown out of the sky, as happened to Panamanian leader Torrijos Herrera and Ecuador’s Roldos. Or worse, they could end up like Saddam Hussien and the entire country destroyed, with millions killed and wounded and millions more became refugees in their own country.

    It does no one any good to talk without reading and reflection.

  14. Its strange that the Malays and their political parties are afraid that the Malaysian born Chinese citizen will take over the country but not afraid of selling out the country to the Communist People Republic of China.

    PROC is acting just like the old Chinese shopkeepers in the middle of the Malay villages of time past. First they extend credit for those farmers who are cash strapped. Then the Malay farmers will sell their produce to these same shopkeepers out of obligation. Often time the farmers are over extended and have to “sandar” their land to the Chinese shopkeepers. Then they default and the land is now owned by the Chinese shopkeeper. So all these soft loans for Mega projects by China are really backed by the Chinese government. If Malaysia default on those loans what happens then?

  15. Mahathir keeps saying that there is no exit clause. Of course there is – terminate unilaterally and you pay the specified compensation. There – that’s your escape clause. Same for the HSR. The whole problem is that Mahathir loves to conduct megaphone diplomacy and negotiations. He said the 2 Chinese mega projects were cancelled. Now, he says we are still studying it. WTF.

    Same for the HSR to Singapore. First, he announced to the world through the press that the project is cancalled. And he says got to pay huge compensation, but he does not know the amount. Now, he says the project is postponed, deferred, etc. This guy is shooting from the hip and keep shooting his own foot.

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