PETALING JAYA: Malaysia has always promoted the idea of peace and neutrality in foreign relations, but according to Klang MP Charles Santiago this is slowly being compromised as a result of Prime Minister Najib Razak leaning more towards China.
Santiago was commenting on Najib’s statement that Malaysia needed a break from past approaches as the country’s foreign policy should be about building partnerships that benefit the nation and people.
Opening the biennial conference of the Commonwealth Association of Public Administration and Management (Capam) in Putrajaya Thursday, Najib stressed that national interests should always come before personal political interests.
“The prime minister is responding to concerns in diplomatic circles of Malaysia’s increasing dependence on China for money, including for 1MDB’s bailout, and that the country will be vulnerable to Chinese dictates in the region, including on the South China Sea,” Santiago told FMT.
Santiago claimed that more Chinese investments, especially for infrastructure, would be coming to Malaysia and, as a result, the country would be placed even deeper in China’s pockets.
“Well, the Chinese GLC (government-linked company) owns 14% of our energy when it took over 1MDB power plants, and the HSR (High Speed Rail) project runs into the billions and is highly likely to be funded by the Chinese.”
Meanwhile, PKR lawmaker Wong Chen told FMT that former Premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad was able to “stand up” to foreign powers as he presided over a “booming economy” and focused on being non-aligned.
“We cannot say the same about Najib. His two-faced engagement with US and China is neither wise nor desirable.”
In January, Kelana Jaya MP Wong Chen accused the government of pursuing an equivocal foreign policy, putting Malaysia in a dubious position in its international relations.
He had said that there was a marked difference between the Najib administration’s foreign policy and the policy pursued by the Mahathir administration.
Mahathir, he said, was focused on uniting Third World countries against the superpowers, whereas Najib seemed to be “running back and forth” between China and the United States.
There have been geopolitical tensions between both economic superpowers (China and the US) on territorial claims over the South China Sea.
Santiago had been vocal about his claims that the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) was the US effort to get Asean to be part of its geopolitical framework against China.