KUALA LUMPUR: No one has dealt with the country’s Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) the way the current government is doing, said Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Dr Mahathir said Prime Minister Najib Razak had given a new definition for FDIs by selling pieces of land to foreign investors and allowing them to develop townships exclusive to foreigners.
“No one in history has ever done this. Developments like the Forest City by Country Garden, or the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park (MCKIP) or what it is known now as the ‘Great Wall of China in Kuantan’, are examples of exclusive projects.
“Locals are not allowed within the eight-feet-tall walls and it looks as if the walls were built to keep those inside separated from the outside.
“We won’t know what kind of activities are going on beyond those walls. Whether or not there are any safety precautions taken within the walls, we will never know.
“I would like to visit this development behind the ‘Great Wall of China’, simply to check on them and if they have any form of security put in place or what laws they are practicing,” said Dr Mahathir.
Mahathir was speaking at the “Jho Low protected by China?” forum held at the Kuala Lumpur and Chinese Assembly Hall, organised by Amanah Youth’s “Anak Muda Cari Jho Low” (AMCJL) movement.
The Pakatan Harapan chairman added that Malaysians would not get anything in return through such FDIs, just as Singapore was sold to the British in the early 19th century.
“They (China) are planning to bring 700,000 people to work and live in Malaysia. What will we get? Our people will not benefit as they are not the ones who will be working for these developments.
“What disturbs me even more is that Forest City will be tax free for the next 10 years, and has a permanent hold title,” he said.
Dr Mahathir clarified that he was not against China investing in Malaysia, provided the companies from China used local manpower and transfer of technology took place.
“We have never seen any FDIs that build a whole town for the foreigners to live here.
“It is all right to have China. In a way they are very useful in providing us with business opportunities. But too many of them also means they will be able to spread their ideologies, and that may not be something we want.
“Although they have come out of communism, we can’t change them. They are of an authoritarian rule and that is very different from us,” he said.
Dr Mahathir reiterated that the only way to stop FDIs that sell off the country’s land was to be rid of the current ruling government.
“The Umno strategy is always to create divisions among the people. We must take a common stand in order to fight against the Umno propaganda,” he added.