China Unhappy Mahathir Came To Power In 2018
A report on the Carnegie website says China was unhappy Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad won the elections in 2018.
“When China’s “good friend” Mahathir again won power in May 2018, China was (ironically enough) less than happy. Much had changed since the early 2000s,” says the article.
Najib Razak did a lot to drive China-Malaysia relations to new heights from 2009 to 2018.
Najib says Carnegie, approved the two countries’ comprehensive strategic partnership, endorsing Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative, to begin with.
The Najib government was also courting more Chinese investment and greater military ties with Beijing. Besides, Malaysia was also opting to procure Chinese-made weapon systems.
In addition, Najib also encouraged more cultural exchanges, embracing Chinese technology companies’ entry into Malaysia.
“Najib arguably not only continued Mahathir’s China-friendly policies but brought the relationship to its peak.”
THEN CAME PH
Consequently, the portal suggests that China may have also become more assertive in the South China Sea because of Najib’s closing one eye on China’s activities in the troubled seas.
China’s recent offensive in the SCS started around 2009 and since then it has virtually conquered the waters.
In contrast, Mahathir had become more of a critic of China, accusing Najib of being subservient to China. He targeted Forest City, a humongous project in Johor, which he says would challenge Malaysia’s racial composition.
His government reversed policies allowing Chinese citizens to purchase properties in Forest City. Mahathir also attacked large China-financed infrastructure and development projects that Najib approved. He says they did not benefit Malaysia.
Remember the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), a flagship BRI project, renegotiations and Mahathir putting the High-Speed Rail project on hold along with two energy pipeline projects.
Carnegie says Mahathir and the PH’s rise to power in May 2018 is the most fraught period in Malaysia-China relations since the 1990s.
Mahathir’s “palpable ambivalence” in Malaysia’s relations with China did not win Beijing’s heart altogether.
How could that be the case with former foreign minister Saifuddin Abdullah dismissed China’s nine-dash line and its territorial claims in the South China Sea as “ridiculous.”
With the collapse of the PH regime mostly because of internal bickering, China was relieved.
Hishammuddin Hussein spoke of his role in “repairing. . . relations” with countries PH damaged, including China, India, and Saudi Arabia.
Now, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hishamuddin became cosier with the Chinese. He calls his counterpart ‘big brother’ and Malaysia has eased its criticism of China in the SCS.
There is also no follow up on China’s recent incursions in Malaysian waters and flights over Sarawak’s waters. It is all kept under the rugs.
This makes China a thrilled superpower that Mahathir and perhaps PH, are not in power!