By Tony Pua
On behalf of DAP, and together with a few of my colleagues, we have visited various Chinese media outlets to deliver 2 boxes of mandarin oranges to wish them a Happy Rooster Year.
One of the questions we kept getting asked by the editors was, "why are you all so opposed to China investment?"
Each time, I had to explain, we are not opposed to China investments or investments from any other country. BUT:
1. They must be "investments" - which means China pays for it. It should not be Malaysians who pay, but framed as China investment. For e.g., the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) - it's NOT a China investment, it's the Malaysian govt awarding the RM55bn contract to a China-owned company.
2. Even if they are contracts, they must demonstrate value for money for Malaysians. Why should the RM55bn ECRL be awarded without any tender process to China, especially when the Govt's own consultants estimate the cost of the project to be less than RM30bn? Where is the balance of the RM25bn going to? Pay 1MDB debts?
3. Don't forget, projects such as these are funded with "generous" loans from the state-owned China banks, payable by our tax-payers for generations to come. Are we sacrificing our children's interest for our ill-conceived projects and scandal cover-ups?
4. As my colleague Liew Chin Tong has rightly pointed out, Malaysia should also be selective of they types of "investments" we seek. We can do without the property-market-destroying Forest City type projects when we have no shortage of expertise in the property development sector. Instead, why isn't Huawei setting up its design centre or its manufacturing plant here in Malaysia?
5. Before Malaysians, of Chinese descent or otherwise, get carried away with the China-investment euphoria - remember also that much of it is simply hype. Aggregate all the MOUs, whether contracts or investments, make a big splash and ta-da... (hope to) win the hearts of the Malaysians - even if much of it is never going to materialise.
Do you still remember the decade not too long ago when the Najib administration was hyping up Middle East investments? Now, what happened to that?
6. Most dangerous of all, as the article below rightly pointed out, we should beware the bearer of false gifts and broken promises. China cares little for our well-being and is ruthlessly entrenching its strategic interests.
Before you know it, we might not only lose all our strategic interests, such as the oil assets at the disputed Spratlys, we will become a vassal state of China. We will be forced to bend over backwards to its will, harking back to the "golden years" of the Malacca sultanate.
MCA can politicise race and stir up emotions, blaming us for being cautious with the China investment brouhaha. In doing so they are exposing their hypocrisy and pawning away the interest of the country.
But I, and my fellow comrades in DAP are Malaysian First. The interest of our country must take top priority, China "investment" or otherwise.