PETALING JAYA: An academic at Universiti Malaya (UM) has rejected a Singapore-based analyst’s contention that Malaysian Chinese may suffer a political backlash from China’s alleged meddling in local politics.
Speaking to FMT, Ngeow Chow Bing of UM’s Institute of China Studies acknowledged that some Chinese bureaucrats had not been tactful with their statements on Malaysia, but he said these were not significant enough to have a negative effect on the local Chinese community.
He was commenting on an article written by Chan Xin Ying of the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University, which was published recently by TODAYonlline.
Chan said China’s meddling in Malaysian politics could give opportunistic Malay politicians ammunition to harm the interests of local Chinese.
Ngeow noted concerns over statements on Malaysian politics made by a few bureaucrats from China. He said these were inappropriate, but added: “I don’t think anyone thinks China is really trying to influence local politics.”
He said Malaysians generally would not connect such lack of tact with the Malaysian Chinese community.
“Malaysian Chinese share a language and culture with the people of China, but that’s about it,” he added.
Socio Economic Research Centre executive director Lee Heng Guie said although China’s economic influence in the country was growing, he did not believe Beijing had any interest in trying to influence local politics or the political sentiments of Malaysian Chinese.
“Beijing doesn’t see Malaysian Chinese as their people, nor do Malaysian Chinese see a link between themselves and China,” he said.
“Malaysian Chinese see themselves as Malaysians. For them this is home. I think other Malaysians also know this.
“So I don’t think anyone actually sees Beijing’s investments or statements as being able to really influence our politics.”