Salleh Said Keruak says when a foreigner owned a piece of land, it did not give them sovereignty over their property.
PETALING JAYA: A senior Barisan Nasional leader says Dr Mahathir Mohamad does not understand the meaning of foreign direct investments (FDI) and sovereignty, in response to the former prime minister’s claims on land sold to foreigners.
Earlier today, it was reported that Mahathir claimed land sold to foreigners would, in effect, become foreign land but communications and multimedia Salleh Said Keruak has debunked Mahathir’s claim.
In a blog post, Salleh said that just because a foreigner owned a piece of land, it did not give them sovereignty over their property.
“The UK, in particular in London, is probably a good example where a lot of property is owned by foreigners.
“But the UK still has sovereignty over all that property. Only in cases of foreign embassies does it differ,” Salleh said, adding when foreigners are allowed to buy land in Malaysia, the value of the property increases.
Salleh said FDI came in many forms and not just the setting up of factories as Mahathir seemed to think, adding that FDI also included the setting up of trading companies, property investments, resorts, clubs and even golf courses.
He also responded to Mahathir’s claim that the selling of land to foreigners would have a major impact on Malaysia’s political landscape.
“But what does Mahathir mean by major impact on the political landscape of the nation in future? Can he be specific? What exactly is he referring to? Is he talking about Malay political power?” questioned Salleh.
“Mahathir is the one who is saying that Umno must be defeated in the next general election. Now he says the opposite. So which one does Mahathir want?”
He said it was Mahathir who wanted to change the political landscape of Malaysia but now grumbles about the possibility that foreigners will change the country’s political landscape.
Meanwhile, veteran economist Ramon Navaratnam in weighing in on the issue, said Mahathir needed to think more positively about FDI.
“Only a small proportion of our land will be bought by foreigners and even then these investments would become catalysts for developments similar to such investments in London, Melbourne and Dubai.”
He also said that just because foreigners owned land or property, it did not mean they would be granted citizenship and the rights and privileges which came with citizenship.