Be clear on China-related policies, business body tells Putrajaya

The Forest City project in Johor is one example of issues which have been at the centre of confusion lately. (Reuters pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce (MCCC) today urged Putrajaya to clear the air over its policies and to make a clear stand on issues relating to the republic, saying recent government statements could impact investments from Beijing.

In a statement, MCCC said there had been “vague and ambiguous statements” by government leaders of late.

It gave the example of claims that the perimeter wall around the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park had been torn down, and Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s remarks on banning foreigners from buying property in Forest City.

Although the former was later identified as a misunderstanding and Mahathir subsequently clarified that there was no such ban, MCCC said such statements could dent the confidence of existing and potential investors.

This in turn could seriously impact the country’s economy, it added.

“It is necessary for officials to give a reasonable explanation to safeguard Malaysia’s reputation.”

MCCC also urged government leaders to exercise caution when making statements.

It proposed the establishment of a specialised department to report to government leaders on matters regarding foreign investment policies.

“By establishing a transparent and rational communication and information mechanism, the government leaders can ensure that they get the right information,” it said.

Following its victory in the May 9 polls, the Pakatan Harapan government led by Mahathir slammed the brakes on a number of China-backed projects including the US$20 billion (RM82 billion) East Coast Rail Link project and a natural gas pipeline project in Sabah.

Mahathir’s statement that foreigners would not be allowed to buy property in the Forest City project in Johor also caused confusion, with Johor Menteri Besar Osman Sapian later saying that foreigners were in fact welcome to do so.

China buyers account for about two-thirds of Forest City units sold so far. A fifth are from Malaysia and the rest from 22 other countries, including Indonesia, Vietnam and South Korea.