Opposition not patriotic, choose to paint M'sia in bad light, says Rahman Dahlan

MELISSA DARLYNE CHOW


KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition members who go abroad and paint the country in a bad light are not patriotic, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan told the Dewan Negara today.

“The Opposition, especially DAP, are not patriotic. They do not put aside their political interests when interacting with leaders from other countries,” he said in replying to a supplementary question by Senator Abdul Shukor Mohd Sultan.

Abdul Shukor had asked on whether the government was selling the country to Saudi Arabia, following the many deals sealed during Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Abdulaziz Al-Saud’s visit in February.

Abdul Rahman said attempts to sabotage the Saudi Aramco investment did not start with King Salman’s visit. He went on to relate how the Opposition had sent a delegation to Taiwan to convince a company, which was keen on investing in the refinery and petrochemical integrated development project (Rapid) Pengerang in Johor. The company eventually withdrew.

“When Aramco agreed to invest in Pengerang, we could see a lot of inappropriate questions from the Opposition.

“I have always said that the Opposition can question the government’s policies, but not to the point of jeopardising the country’s economy,” he said, adding that the Opposition also had a role to play in the country’s economic growth.

Abdul Rahman said when he was a backbencher, he had met many foreign Opposition leaders.

“In spite of their status as the Opposition in their country, they did not utter a single word to discredit their country.

“In fact, they praised their government and country. Why? Because they know they are on foreign territory.

“They know they have to defend their country’s image and the economy,” he said.

While the Opposition has, in Parliament, constantly demanded a world-class government, Abdul Rahman said the Opposition has to be world-class as well.

To the initial question on the benefits of King Salman’s visit, Abdul Rahman said both the Malaysian and Saudi Arabian governments had signed memorandums of understanding (MoU) in areas of trade and investments covering various economic sectors.

Seven other MoUs involving the private sectors of both countries were also inked, totalling to RM9.75 billion, which covered sectors such as energy, health, construction, education, small and medium industries, as well as the halal industry.

The Malaysian haj quota was also restored to 30,200 pilgrims beginning this haj season, following a discussion between Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and King Salman during the visit.