Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali today called on China to have a positive outlook on the ‘New Malaysia’ under the administration of Pakatan Harapan (PH).
“Rather than viewing the ‘New Malaysia’ with anxiety, I urge Chinese businesses to view us through the prism of hope and opportunity.
“Now, more than ever before, Malaysia is one of the most attractive places in South-east Asia to do business,” he said when closing the South China Morning Post Conference China 2018 at Hilton Kuala Lumpur.
The incumbent PKR vice-president said seeing as the two countries have maintained a strong bilateral relationship over the years, China should not view Malaysia solely as a destination for foreign direct investments (FDI).
“We are also keen on promoting our products to China. As Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has said, we want Malaysia to be a country that produces and exports things, not just a country of consumers,” he added, referring to the prime minister.
He said despite having recent discourse skewed towards Malaysia’s stance on project reviews, this does not mean that investments are not welcomed.
Azmin said there is a need for Malaysia and China to re-calibrate both nations’ economies by shifting the focus to balanced developments and reviewing all joint projects.
The former Selangor mentri besar added this should be done while remaining committed to doing what is vital for economic growth and leverage on opportunities that would be beneficial to the people.
“I cannot over-stress the importance of growth. I assure you the government will continue to invest in productive infrastructure, education and technology.
“This is crucial in order to continue to create value, generate job opportunities and take the economic trajectory in a positive direction,” he said.
Azmin said while China is admired globally for its economic power and military prowess, the prosperity of the region is dependent on its commitment to peaceful development.
He said Malaysia would like to maintain the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea by ensuring the area remains peaceful, free, neutral and non-militarized.
“In the past, military might was used by certain powers to impose on weaker nations. On the other hand, China traded with Melaka for two centuries in peace. If there had been any imperialist intentions, China could have colonized Melaka then. But it was the Western powers that did that instead.
“The bilateral relationship between China and Malaysia, therefore, must be seen from the prism of that long history, signified not by wars or colonization, but by robust trade and cultural exchanges,” he said.