Najib ‘also Looking East’ as Mahathir said

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PETALING JAYA: Taking a cue from Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the prime minister, Najib Razak, gave a tongue-in-cheek response today to criticism of the federal government’s recent massive deals with China.

He said the deals were merely a continuation of Mahathir’s “Look East” policy of the 1980s.

“What is the difference between investments from China and investments from Japan or (South) Korea? or investments from the US? If Dr Mahathir said look East, I am looking East too,” he said today in his speech at the opening of the MCA’s annual conference.

“What I did is merely to add another country, China, because China has become the world’s biggest economy,” he added.

In the early days of Mahathir’s 22-year premiership, he switched Malaysian trade focus towards Japan and South Korea.

Last week Mahathir criticised the government’s China deals, amounting to RM144 billion, which includes the RM55 billion new East Coast railway, and the sale of Bandar Malaysia land to a joint venture with a Chinese company. He said the deals had compromised Malaysia’s sovereignty.

Mahathir left Umno in February, campaigning to have Najib removed from office. He formed a new party and called for a united opposition front to defeat the Barisan Nasional.

At the MCA convention today, Najib, who is BN chairman, criticised the new partnership between Mahathir and DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang, who had been mortal political enemies in the past.

“You think Lim really likes Dr Mahathir? You think Dr Mahathir really likes Lim?” he said to MCA delegates. “Dr Mahathir once openly said that Lim is racist, anti-Malay and anti-Islam. Lim has accused Dr Mahathir of being a dictator, of practising cronyism and much more.”

“This is the politics of hypocrisy at its (most extreme)… How can we believe in a political pact based on hypocrisy?” he said in a reference to plans by Mahathir’s new Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia to be a part of the Pakatan Harapan alliance of PKR, DAP and Parti Amanah Negara.

Najib said the Malaysian people could not afford to put their future on the line by relying on a political alliance without any element of sincerity. “Let them play the politics of hate. BN will work and deliver for the people and the country,” he added.

Mahathir, who is chairman of PPBM, said at the Pakatan Harapan convention yesterday that the party intended to join the Pakatan alliance and form a united opposition front to defeat the Barisan Nasional at the next general election.

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