What’s in a wall?

The wall around the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park (MCKIP) has become a contentious issue. But is it really about the wall, or is it something else? I think something is not right with our arguments.

Some investments from China might have recently courted controversy, but is the wall around MCKIP really an issue here?

When private owners build walls around their property to protect their privacy or intellectual property, is it an encroachment on sovereignty as claimed by some? Can the owners use the wall to condone and conceal “crimes” happening behind the wall?

Dr Mahathir Mohamad was against the wall. He probably made his remarks during the heat of the election campaign. I’m glad that Ong Kian Ming, the deputy international trade and industry minister, was brave enough to try and put the issue in the right context.

What I really can’t stand are the half-baked jingoists who try to butter up Mahathir by putting forth nonsensical arguments. In what ways would the wall create suspicion? Did the investors building the wall claim sovereignty or extra territorial rights within the wall?

Can the wall prevent our regulating authorities from going in and out? As far as I know, the wall, the factory and everything in it is subject to Malaysia’s jurisdiction. Has Malaysia granted this investor and MCKIP any extra territorial rights?

Take our homes for example. Do we allow strangers to walk in anytime they like? I think the same privacy and respect should be given to investors who may want to protect their privacy and intellectual property.

However, this does not mean that we can do anything we like in our homes, or that the investors can do anything they like behind the wall. I’m sure the police and other enforcement authorities would be able to conduct inspections from time to time and investigate whether there are crimes or untoward acts committed behind the wall.

Unless there were treaties signed or rights conceded by the government before this of which we are not aware, MCKIP is very much in Malaysia’s territory and subject to Malaysian laws and regulations regardless of the existence or height of the wall.

TK Chua is an FMT reader.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.