PETALING JAYA: A former minister has commended Anwar Ibrahim for engaging the Muslim business community during the prime minister’s maiden trip to China, saying he had indirectly shown solidarity with the persecuted Uyghurs.
Khairy Jamaluddin said Anwar’s gesture did not embarrass the host country, China, which in the past had come under fire for its treatment of the Muslim minority.
“To show one’s solidarity with the Muslims in the country without raising the Uyghur issue, that is a smart move,” the former health minister said in his podcast with Shahril Hamdan.
Shahril, a former Umno information chief, had wondered if the issue of the Uyghurs had been raised, noting the lack of reports on the matter.
Khairy also said there were times when sensitive matters were only discussed internally between the delegates of the two countries and were not revealed to the media.
“I have witnessed many sensitive issues that were raised in closed-door meetings that (would) not be shared in the press conferences and releases because we want to take care of the bilateral ties.”
Prior to the trip, Anwar was urged by foreign policy experts to raise two sensitive issues with Chinese president Xi Jinping, namely the South China Sea territorial dispute and the republic’s alleged poor treatment of the Uyghurs.
Protect tenants’ rights, govt told
Separately, Khairy called upon the government to protect tenants’ rights in the country as they were not protected from forced evictions by landlords and from unwarranted deposit deductions.
He said there was no tribunal that dealt with these issues, leaving tenants with no option but to bring these cases to the courts where they would have to bear expensive legal fees.
He said that this was not the case in some countries where there were tribunals to resolve such issues immediately. There were also clear laws on the rights of both the tenants and landlords.
In other countries, rents were capped to protect the tenant, Khairy said.
In 2020, then housing and local government minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said the Residential Tenancy Act, to address problems in the rental market, would be tabled in Parliament in 2021. However, the bill was never tabled.