‘Ties with China do not threaten sovereignty’
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.”