April 23, 2018
Chinese investment into Malaysia should not be a political talking point.
During a recent interview with The Associated Press, Pakatan Harapan chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said if the opposition pact were to win next month’s general elections, Malaysia would stop borrowing from China.
This is not the first time Mahathir has said something like this. Prior to that, he said the new PH government would review ECRL and other mega projects.
Such remarks against Chinese investments in the country will not do the national economy any good. On the contrary, they may create unnecessary misunderstanding and confrontation, especially among rural folks with little knowledge of how economy functions. These people may be easily misled into xenophobia.
The 14th general election is just around the corner, and there are signs this election is going to be an ultimate showdown between BN and PH.
Due to the very tight fight anticipated, politicians on both sides of the divide have been exhausting whatsoever means to win the support of voters, which is well expected by us all.
However, as they are exploiting issues in fishing the much needed votes, they must put the country’s interests above their own and not to raise any sensitive issue that could potentially spark unnecessary conflicts and jeopardize the long-term benefits of the country and her people.
In other words, all parties must refrain from cooking up the issue of Chinese investments, and turn a purely economic issue into a political one.
From the economic point of view, there is hardly any difference between Chinese investments and those from other countries in that they all inject massive funds and dynamism into the national economy, providing the essential fuel for the economic engine to ensure the country’s economy will have enough power to forge ahead.
There are plenty of instances to show that foreign investments indeed play a pivotal role in a country’s development. As a result, countries around the world will basically receive foreign investors with open arms, be they from China or elsewhere.
As the world’s second largest economy, China has investments all over the world. Thanks to the “One Belt, One Road” initiative, Chinese investors are venturing abroad like never before. Malaysia should seize this rare opportunity to make Chinese investments a catalyst to lift the national economy as we move ahead towards the vision of a fully developed nation.
Simply put, the country’s economic well-being must never be compromised no matter how bitter political rivalry is. Targeting Chinese investments and inciting public indignation towards them is not a wise thing to do.
Moreover, given the country’s unique social fabric, anti-China sentiment could very well evolve into a source of interracial friction.
While playing up the issue of Chinese investments in the country, politicians should take into account its negative implications and possible consequences.
It is hoped that our politicians will exercise more prudence when making their statements, lest they create unnecessary confusion and misunderstanding among the people.