PETALING JAYA: Chinese investors in Malaysia have nothing to worry if Pakatan Harapan (PH) comes to power, despite the coalition’s promise to review Chinese interests in the country, says a political analyst.
Qianye Zhang said it was also in the interest of Chinese investors to establish rapport with Malaysia’s opposition leaders.
Writing in The Diplomat, Zhang said Malaysian opposition politicians were only playing up nationalist sentiments when they questioned Chinese investments, and they were likely to break their promise as there was too much at stake as far as China, Malaysia’s largest trade partner, is concerned.
She said certain moves to restrain the investments should be expected in the immediate aftermath of the polls should the coalition win.
But she said these were aimed at fulfilling the opposition’s promises during the campaign, especially in certain states such as Johor and Penang.
“In the long term, however, this won’t last long,” said Zhang, a former journalist who has researched Malaysia, and who is now pursuing studies at the Harvard Kennedy School in the US.
PH, in its manifesto launched last month, said the coalition would encourage “high-quality” investments from China, but said it would review current investments to ensure they were free of corruption.
PH chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad has openly criticised the Najib admnistration over a number of China-linked projects, including the multi-billion ringgit East Coast Rail Link.
Mahathir has also spoken out against the sale of properties targetted at Chinese nationals, saying it undermines Malaysia’s sovereignty.
But Zhang said Mahathir was playing on nationalism in the lead-up to the election, adding that it was not unusual to see a successful candidate break his promise after consolidating power.
She said Mahathir had praised China’s economic miracle on multiple occasions before, and would welcome Chinese investment if it could benefit Malaysia.
“In the end, Chinese investors need not worry too much about Malaysia’s upcoming election,” Zhang said.
“However, Chinese investors and companies should not ignore establishing and maintaining connection with the opposition in order to reduce their own risks in the future,” she added.