PM asks West to end ‘lec­tures’ as Malaysia em­braces China

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Malaysian Prime Min­is­ter Na­jib Razak said that for­mer colo­nial pow­ers should not lec­ture coun­tries they once ex­ploited on their in­ter­nal af­fairs, a Chi­nese news­pa­per re­ported yes­ter­day, in a veiled at­tack on the West as he looks to strengthen ties with China. Na­jib’s visit to Bei­jing fol­lows that of Philip­pine Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte, who an­nounced a “sep­a­ra­tion” from the United States and signed a raft of mem­o­randa of un­der­stand­ing for Chi­nese in­vest­ment in the coun­try.

Na­jib, who is on a six-day visit to China, said in an ed­i­to­rial in the state-run China Daily that larger coun­tries should treat smaller coun­tries fairly. “And this in­cludes for­mer colo­nial pow­ers. It is not for them to lec­ture coun­tries they once ex­ploited on how to con­duct their own in­ter­nal af­fairs to­day,” he wrote. The Philip­pines is a for­mer Span­ish and US colony, and Malaysia a for­mer Bri­tish colony. Na­jib is look­ing to strengthen ties with China after July law­suits filed by the US Jus­tice Depart­ment im­pli­cat­ing him in a money-laun­der­ing scan­dal. Na­jib has de­nied any wrong­do­ing and said Malaysia will co­op­er­ate in the in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

Counter in­flu­ence

More than $3.5 bil­lion was al­legedly mis­ap­pro­pri­ated from 1MDB, ac­cord­ing to civil law­suits filed by the Jus­tice Depart­ment. The probe has strained ties be­tween Malaysia and the United States, with Na­jib dis­miss­ing it as for­eign in­ter­fer­ence in Malaysia’s af­fairs. The shift by the Philip­pines and Malaysia is be­ing widely seen as China’s counter to US in­flu­ence in the re­gion. Na­jib also wrote that dis­putes in the South China Sea should be re­solved through di­a­logue in ac­cor­dance with rule of law. China claims most of the en­ergy-rich wa­ters through which about $5 tril­lion in ship-borne trade passes ev­ery year. Neigh­bors Brunei, Malaysia, the Philip­pines, Tai­wan and Viet­nam also have claims. “When it comes to the South China Sea, we firmly be­lieve that over­lap­ping ter­ri­to­rial and mar­itime dis­putes should be man­aged calmly and ra­tio­nally through di­a­logue, in ac­cor­dance with the rule of law and peace­ful ne­go­ti­a­tions,” he said.

Chi­nese Vice For­eign Min­is­ter Liu Zhen­min said on Tues­day that Malaysia had pledged with Bei­jing to han­dle South China Sea dis­putes bi­lat­er­ally. Malaysia agreed to buy four Chi­nese naval ves­sels and signed 14 agree­ments to­tal­ing 143.64 bil­lion ring­git ($34.25 bil­lion), Malaysian state news agency Ber­nama said, after a meet­ing be­tween Chi­nese Pre­mier Li Ke­qiang and Na­jib on Tues­day. Na­jib also said Malaysia wel­comed the Chin­abacked Asian In­fra­struc­ture In­vest­ment Bank which marks a turn­ing point “of peace­ful di­a­logue, not for­eign intervention, in sov­er­eign states”. Global in­sti­tu­tions needed to be in­clu­sive of “coun­tries that were given no say in the le­gal and se­cu­rity in­fra­struc­ture that was set up by the vic­tors of the Se­cond World War”, he added. — Reuters

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