KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad says Malaysia has yet to feel any significant impact from the trade war between the US and China.
He said the government was aware that the conflict might affect the country, but added that it could also prove favourable for Malaysia.
“If there is any impact, we hope it will be the transfer of US investments in China to Malaysia. It is possible that we will get some good out of the trade war between China and the US,” he said in the Dewan Rakyat today.
He was replying to Annuar Musa (BN-Ketereh) on whether Malaysia was bound by China or the US, or adopted a neutral policy regarding the trade war.
He said the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government had a policy of non-intervention in any kind of war at all.
To Fong Kui Lun (PH-Bukit Bintang), who had asked on the outcome of his visit to China from Aug 17 to 21, Mahathir said five MoUs were signed between government agencies at the visit, which was at the invitation of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.
He said China had stated its willingness to import 500,000 additional tonnes of palm oil from Malaysia, provided that competitive prices were offered.
The Langkawi MP added that Malaysia and China, which had enjoyed strong bilateral relations over the last 40 years, had agreed to a more dynamic relationship to explore new areas for mutual benefit such as technology, industry and innovation.
“We encourage investments from China, but these investments must provide job opportunities for Malaysians, use local materials and bring about the transfer of technology to local industries.
“Investment does not include bringing foreigners to become residents in this country,” he said.
Replying to a supplementary question from Fong on the reported decline in the arrival of Chinese tourists during the Chinese National Day holiday from Oct 1 to 7, purportedly due to Putrajaya’s review of the concession agreements made by the previous government, Mahathir said the government was confident that the number of Chinese tourists to the country would rise again.
He also said the government was looking into expediting the issuance of visas to attract tourists from China.
“Of course, the tourists have to pay for the visa and so on,” he added. “It is done in China itself and there are shortcomings that have to be rectified. We will ensure that the price is not too high. We will ensure that the visa is issued much faster.”