New Straits Times - - News -

Malaysia must not live in iso­la­tion.

“Give me proof. They (naysay­ers) raise ques­tions about ev­ery­thing we do.

“When we signed the Lit­toral Mis­sion Ship agree­ment with China, they said we were sell­ing the coun­try to China.

“When Saudi Ara­bia King Sal­man (Ab­du­laziz Al-Saud) came, they said we were sell­ing our souls to them, and now, the same claims about any pos­si­ble deal with France.

Give me facts. It is easy to point fin­gers. The world is bor­der­less. We have friends and that is our strength. Un­less they have any other op­tion or so­lu­tion, stop point­ing fin­gers.”

Hisham­mud­din said this af­ter host­ing China Cen­tral Mil­i­tary Com­mis­sion vicechair­man Gen­eral Xu Qil­iang at the De­fence Min­istry head­quar­ters yes­ter­day.

He said a cou­ple of let­ters were ex­changed with France dur­ing the two-day state visit by President Fran­cois Hol­lande.

“One is to re­view our de­fence agree­ment with them, which was signed in 1997. It will see a more ro­bust ex­change of in­for­ma­tion be­tween both coun­tries, es­pe­cially in deal­ing with Is­lamic State threats.

“The other is a Let­ter of In­tent to en­hance de­fence co­op­er­a­tion with fo­cus on mil­i­tary in­tel­li­gence and cy­ber de­fence.”

On an­other mat­ter, Hisham­mud­din said he had pro­posed the es­tab­lish­ment of a high-level com­mit­tee that would be chaired by him and Chi­nese De­fence Min­is­ter Chang Wan­quan, aimed at in­sti­tu­tion­al­is­ing bi­lat­eral re­la­tions.

“The com­mit­tee will dis­cuss all as­pects (of bi­lat­eral links), which could con­struct or strain our re­la­tion­ship.

“We hope this (agree­ment) will be signed in the near fu­ture.

“The draft is ready, it is just a mat­ter of when and where.”

He said Xu was here to deal with geopo­lit­i­cal is­sues and re­gional se­cu­rity threats, in­clud­ing from North Korea and IS, in re­gard to the set­ting up of the com­mit­tee.

“We will set up spe­cific work­ing groups, in­clud­ing (ones that will ad­dress) mil­i­tary co­op­er­a­tion (ex­change of in­for­ma­tion and mil­i­tary-to-mil­i­tary ex­er­cises), the de­fence in­dus­try, ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing, as well as strate­gic af­fairs.”

Hisham­mud­din said Malaysian-Chi­nese bi­lat­eral re­la­tions were “at an all-time high” due to the re­la­tion­ship be­tween “top lead­er­ship per­son­al­i­ties”.

“How­ever, we can­not rely on per­son­al­i­ties alone as they come and go. If we in­sti­tu­tion­alise our re­la­tions, it does not mat­ter who gov­erns Malaysia or China.

“In the con­text of se­cu­rity, re­la­tions will con­tinue as the tem­plate was built and de­vel­oped as we lead to­day.”

Datuk Seri Hisham­mud­din Hus­sein

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