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Anwar: Do not dictate on Malaysia’s relationship with China

by Adrian David

MELBOURNE, 8 MARCH – Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim reiterated that Malaysia did not have any problem dealing with China, which is its largest trading partner.

Anwar called on other countries, like the United States and its allies, that had problems with China not to force their views on Malaysia.

“Currently, China appears to be the leading investor and trading partner for Malaysia.

“We are a fiercely independent nation and very self-sufficient. We do not want to be dictated by any power over our relations with China or any of our important neighbours.

“While we remain an important friend to the US, Europe and Australia, it should not preclude us from being friendly to one of our important neighbours, specifically China,” Anwar said while attending the ‘Malaysia-Australia Annual Leaders’ Meeting’ and the ‘Asean-Australia Special Summit’ in Victoria.

Anwar added that if some super-powers had problems with China, they should not impose them upon Malaysia, which did not have any problems with China.

Similarly, Anwar spoke on the effects of ‘Sinophobia’, and responded that Malaysia upheld an open trading policy to encourage investments from foreign countries.

“Some countries have levied some criticisms against us for giving additional focus on China which seems to be the leading investor in Malaysia.

Anwar’s comments strengthened his take in an interview with the Financial Times on Feb 27 where he decried ‘Sinophobia’ among US and Western allies.

He questioned as to why Malaysia should be prejudiced and pick a quarrel with China, in response to US’ criticism of Malaysia’s ties with Beijing.

Calling China an important neighbour, he said Malaysia would give priority to enhancing relations with Beijing in terms of trade, investment and culture.

Meanwhile, Asean secretary-general Kao Kim Hourn said that Asia and Australia had been building a mutually beneficial partnership for over five decades.

“The Asean-Australia partnership has significantly developed to cover various areas of cooperation.

“Australia has become an important partner in supporting the Asean community,” Kao said.

Philippines Foreign Secretary Enrique A. Manalo spoke on the importance of maintaining security and stability in the South China Sea.

He highlighted how the Philippines and China, which claims nearly all of the South China Sea through its ‘nine-dash line’, had repeatedly clashed over territorial boundaries and competing claims in the South China Sea.

He reminded that the Permanent Court of Arbitration had in 2016 ruled that China’s claim had no legal basis in the South China Sea which is an important shipping lane in the Indo-Pacific region.

“The promising future can only be realised if countries in the region are determined to uphold cooperation in terms of diplomacy, addressing confrontation and exercising restraint in the use of power.

“To make the South China Sea and the seas in the Indo-Pacific a unifier of peace, stability and prosperity, we need to maintain shared responsibility and concerns,” said Manalo.

Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong emphasised his commitment to defence and security cooperation with Australia.

“Singapore will gladly welcome the presence of nuclear-powered submarines from Australia once they become available and operational,” said Lee. – airtimes.my

#AirTimes #Malaysia #Semasa #AnwarIbrahim

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