China paper: Dr M, Malaysia committed to growing ties

Justin Ong
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad attends a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing August 20, 2018. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 29 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s antagonism towards Malaysia’s existing projects with Chinese firms is aimed at the previous administration, claimed the Global Times.

The Chinese newspaper said the friction was normal given Malaysia’s recent political upheaval following the general election here.

“China should understand and adapt to Malaysia's internal adjustments and remain consistent in cooperation with the country while Chinese firms should protect their own interests.

“The Chinese government should also help them safeguard their interests so that expanding cooperation and settling disputes according to laws and regulations will become the norm,” it said in an editorial piece.

However, it also advised Putrajaya to be mindful of how its public remarks could shape public perception both in China and in Malaysia.

The prime minister has maintained his coolness towards China, which is in contrast to predecessor Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s eagerness to foster ties with the Asian superpower.

Since coming to power, Dr Mahathir has announced the “cancellation” of several infrastructure projects previously awarded to Chinese firms by the Barisan Nasional administration.

However, he has since clarified that these were only deferred although the Malaysian government wanted to end them.

His remarks required Dr Mahathir to repeatedly insist that he is not hostile towards China.

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