MP laments dire lack of info on Chinese projects


KUALA LUMPUR: An opposition MP has lamented about the difficulty in obtaining information about Chinese-related projects in the country as the approval for these lay solely in the hands of the cabinet.

Speaking at a forum on Chinese investments in Malaysia today, Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar said the slew of Chinese mega projects in Malaysia should be debated and scrutinised in Parliament, together with various stakeholders and experts.

“We are not anti-China. In fact, we are pro-investment,” the PKR vice-president said at the forum held at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall.

Nurul said no country, including China, one of Malaysia’s largest trading partners, should be given a blank cheque when it comes to investing in the country.

“We talk about the numerous projects and agreements. It’s difficult for us to get a list.

“Usually, as an MP, we can get various documents and discuss the issues,” she said, adding this wasn’t the case however with the Chinese investments as it only only required cabinet approval.

As a result, Nurul said information on lesser-known projects like a port in Bagan Datuk was not available to MPs like her.

“We welcome investments but to ensure these projects are successful, we need the latest information on them.”

Nurul added that she would continue to push for deliberation on the Chinese investments in Parliament to ensure whatever agreements Malaysia entered into served its best interests.

In recent years, there has been a flurry of Chinese companies and state-owned enterprises into Malaysia, that have invested billions in mega infrastructure and property projects such as the RM43 billion Bandar Malaysia, the RM442 billion Forest City and the RM55 billion East Coast Rail Link (ECRL).

Meanwhile, independent economist Azrul Azwar Ahmad Tajudin said Malaysia should welcome all foreign direct investments as long as they were fair, profitable in the long term and thoroughly scrutinised.

“What we should be concerned about, and examine thoroughly, are the issues of good governance, mechanisms on how the agreements were reached, and terms and agreements of each deal, among other things,” he said.

Earlier today, prominent economist Professor Jomo Kwame Sundaram urged Putrajaya to be cautious when accepting investments from China and to protect the interests of the nation and its people.