KUALA LUMPUR: Former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s criticism of China-Malaysia ties stems from one simple reason — jealousy.
So says Tourism and Culture Minister Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz.
He said unlike Mahathir, his successor, Najib Razak, had successfully secured the biggest investment the country has ever seen.
“The investment is big and it is not easy for a country to invest that much.
“When China wants to invest that much in Malaysia, it shows that the Chinese are confident with how the prime minister is running the country,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby here today.
His statement came following Mahathir’s claim that Najib had placed Malaysia’s sovereignty at risk by “over-relying” on China, which had earlier this week signed RM144 billion worth of deals during his visit to the country.
Mahathir also warned that China was merely trying to elbow its way into the South China Sea in its bid to resolve overlapping territorial claims unilaterally with the claimant states rather than doing so collectively with Asean as a group.
“I think Mahathir was thinking about his time as the prime minister. That time, China was a communist country, but now it is the second biggest economy in the world.
“In the current era, the sovereignty issue does not arise at all. It will not affect us. He (Mahathir) is jealous,” said Nazri.
He then accused Mahathir of being unhappy with the “historical” bilateral deal as it had negated the 91-year-old’s claims that Malaysia under Najib’s administration was going to be bankrupt.
“His view came from a rotten heart (hati busuk) and he just wants to see Najib fall.”
Commenting on the bilateral agreements, Nazri said they would benefit the country’s economy and tourism.
He also said unlike Mahathir, whose spirit was weak and would give in to any party that invests in Malaysia, Najib was a principled leader who would never put the country’s sovereignty at risk.
“Mahathir doesn’t have a strong will. He will give in to China.
“Najib, on the other hand, has told me that investments are investments, but sovereignty is sovereignty.
“There is no compromise on issues like the South China Sea. That is what you call a leader.”