‘Ties with China do not threaten sovereignty’

New Straits Times - - News -

JITRA: Cor­dial ties with China will not com­pro­mise Malaysia’s sovereignty.

Deputy De­fence Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Mohd Jo­hari Ba­harum said the good re­la­tion­ship was not ex­clu­sive with China as Malaysia also had diplo­matic ties with other na­tions, in­clud­ing the United States and Rus­sia.

Jo­hari, who is also Kubang Pasu mem­ber of par­lia­ment, said this when re­spond­ing to for­mer prime min­is­ter Tun Dr Ma­hathir Mo­hamad’s claim that the sea­ports in Me­laka and Kuan­tan would be turned into naval bases for the Chi­nese mil­i­tary.

Dr Ma­hathir claimed that the de­ci­sion to al­low Chi­nese mil­i­tary in Malaysia came fol­low­ing the multi­bil­lion ring­git in­vest­ment deals with China re­cently.

In his blog, Ma­hathir said the Chi­nese mil­i­tary would sta­tion its navy at two lo­ca­tions, which would com­pro­mise Malaysia’s pol­icy as a neu­tral na­tion.

Jo­hari said huge Chi­nese in­vest­ments, which in­clude sta­tion­ing its mil­i­tary in this coun­try, would not pose a threat to the na­tion’s sovereignty, but would at­tract in­vest­ment.

“For ex­am­ple, in Sabah, there is a large num­ber of Chi­nese tourists. They gen­er­ate mul­ti­mil­lion ring­git of tourism ex­pen­di­ture. We must look at the big­ger pic­ture,” he said af­ter SMK Pu­lau Nyior’s Teach­ers Day cel­e­bra­tion here yes­ter­day.

Jo­hari, who had once served as Ma­hathir’s po­lit­i­cal sec­re­tary, likened his for­mer boss as an ex­cel­lent “ac­tor” in the lat­ter’s new role with the op­po­si­tion.

He said Ma­hathir was good at fish­ing for the peo­ple’s sym­pa­thy and sup­port with his crit­i­cisms against the Fed­eral Govern­ment.

Jo­hari said he knows of Ma­hathir’s abil­ity to woo sup­port­ers. As such, he said, the peo­ple should no longer view Ma­hathir’s po­si­tion as a states­man, but rather his new role as a leader in the op­po­si­tion bloc.

“Dr Ma­hathir to­day is no longer the Dr Ma­hathir that we used to know. He used to be the prime min­is­ter that fought for Barisan Na­sional and Umno, but he is now an op­po­si­tion leader.

“So, it is not sur­pris­ing that he is crit­i­cis­ing what­ever the govern­ment does.”

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