PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Najib Razak has questioned the “hypocrisy” of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government in hailing the same Chinese-led projects they had condemned before the 14th general election (GE14).
In a Facebook post, Najib said during the run-up to GE14, then-opposition leader Dr Mahathir Mohamad and other PH leaders had accused him of “selling off” the country through the Forest City and Melaka Gateway projects which were backed by Chinese investors.
“I still remember how Mahathir visited Forest City and pointed to freehold property advertisements. His son Mukhriz alleged that I was the only prime minister to sell freehold land to foreigners.
“But on Aug 2, Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar answered in the Dewan Rakyat that the PH government will continue to sell freehold land in Forest City, Johor, to foreigners.”
Similarly, Najib said, Mahathir had attacked the Melaka Gateway project, citing it as proof that the nation’s sovereignty was being sold and saying that Malaysia didn’t need the project as the country already had numerous ports.
Najib said he found it strange that Melaka Chief Minister Adly Zahari was recently reported as saying that the Melaka Gateway project and the Kuala Linggi port, which is also backed by Chinese investors, were important to the state’s development and to ensure a return to Melaka’s glory days during the Melaka Sultanate when it was a world-famous port city.
“I find it odd why projects carried out during my tenure as prime minister were labelled as ‘selling the country’ but when they are carried out now, they become vital projects which will take Melaka back to its glory days, even though these projects do not undergo any changes, be it in the scope of the project or its shareholders.
“Anyway, the lies and allegations have been made. I accept and forgive those who made such accusations,” he added.
Najib said he was optimistic that the projects would ensure economic development and create jobs.
“I pray that these projects will be executed smoothly and that they meet their goals.”
Recently, two former Umno MPs from Johor, Aziz Kaprawi and Shahrir Samad, criticised the government for not being consistent on Forest City.
In March last year, Mahathir, who is now prime minister, wrote on his blog that Najib was trying to confuse the public by saying the Forest City project would not affect Malaysia’s sovereignty as the properties sold were by way of 99-year leaseholds.
Mahathir said many Malaysians had failed to convert their small plots of land to freehold status although foreigners could easily do so when they bought property in Forest City.