PETALING JAYA: Lim Kit Siang has called on Prime Minister Najib Razak to clarify if Chinese president Xi Jinping will still visit Malaysia this year after it was planned for just prior to the upcoming 14th general election (GE14).
The DAP parliamentary leader claimed that Xi’s visit was the important “China card” that Najib wanted to play in tandem with the election, which is due by 24 August 2018 but expected by many quarters to be held later this year.
“Najib should clarify whether it is true (that) Xi Jinping, president of China, will not be visiting Malaysia this year, removing the programme from his GE14 plans,” Lim said.
“Various factors had gone into the mixer in the computation for the timing of the next general election, and one such important factor is the China card for Najib, especially with regard to the visit to Malaysia,” he added in a statement today
The Gelang Patah MP said there had been speculation earlier that the visit would be in August, before it was moved to October with the adjustment made in accordance to plans for the timing of GE14.
Lim claimed that the recent controversy surrounding the Bandar Malaysia development project had shaken relations between Malaysia and China.
A report in the South China Morning Post (SCMP) this week said the troubled Chinese giant Dalian Wanda Group had abandoned its bid to develop Bandar Malaysia.
It has been reported that China’s banking regulators told executives of the country’s state-owned lenders that six of Dalian Wanda’s foreign acquisitions were subject to government capital restrictions.
In addition, Beijing was preventing the company from using funds parked on the mainland to further finance any of these deals, according to the report.
The Bandar Malaysia project, owned by 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), had originally been awarded to China Railway Engineering Corp (CREC) and its Malaysian partner, Iskandar Waterfront Holdings (IWH), in December 2015 in a RM7.4 billion deal aimed at raising funds to tackle 1MDB’s massive debt burden.
However, on May 3, TRX City Sdn Bhd which comes under the finance ministry, announced that the share sale agreement with Beijing’s CREC and IWH regarding the sale of 60% of Bandar Malaysia’s issued and paid-up capital had lapsed and was, therefore, terminated.
Lim also said a “political hurricane” had been stirred when the Pakatan Harapan (PH) presidential council announced after its meeting on July 14 its new leadership lineup with Dr Mahathir Mohamad as chairman.
“Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the Parti Pribumi Bersatu (PPBM) have altered the political landscape, breaking open the Malay hinterland which had hitherto been sealed and locked up by Umno, to allow in the ideas for change, justice and progress,” Lim said.
He said there needed to be both urban and rural “tsunamis” for the Barisan Nasional (BN) federal government to be replaced by PH.