Opposition's anti-China investment stance hurts local Chinese interests: Malaysia PM Najib

VIDEO: THE STAR/ ASIA NEWS NETWORK

SERDANG - Malaysia's opposition has criticised efforts by the government to attract investments from China into the country, and this has made things worse for the Chinese business community, said Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

"The members of the opposition are attacking us because we bring in Chinese investments," Malaysiakini news website quoted Datuk Seri Najib as saying on Friday (Sept 22)

"That's a very good reason for all of us not to support the opposition because they are not telling us what's good for Malaysia and Chinese community," he said at a dinner to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Federation of Hokkien Associations of Malaysia (FHAM).

Foreign investments would benefit both big corporations as well as small- and medium-sized industries, he said in his speech.

He slammed the opposition's criticism of the government's good ties with China as being extremely myopic, Malaysiakini reported.

Citing how his government's efforts in China had helped Malaysia's palm oil and durian industries, he said: "I went to China, I asked President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang to consider buying our palm oil and the Chinese government responded."

"I believe the durian prices in Malaysia is now at an all-time high. Musang King, for example, was selling at RM80 (S$25.70) or even RM100 (per kg) and beyond. That was largely because China has allowed export of durian products to China," he said.

He added that birdnest will also find its way to China.

"Even unprocessed birdnest were accepted by China," he said.

Peppering his speech with Hokkien phrases such as "da keh ho" (good day, everyone), "kam sia" (thank you) and stressing that he is the "siu siong" (prime minister), Mr Najib praised the local Chinese community for its invaluable efforts in pushing forward the Malaysian economy.

"As the government, we have always recognised the contribution of the Chinese community in the economic development of Malaysia," he was quoted by the Star website as saying.

He noted that the majority of successful Chinese entrepreneurs and businesses in Malaysia hail from the Hokkien community.

"I believe 80 per cent of the top 10 per cent entrepreneurs are Hokkiens and the majority of Tan Sris in the Chinese community are Hokkiens," he said.

He stressed that the government would remain fiscally responsible, providing funds and incentives to private companies to encourage them to keep contributing to the economy.

"I assure you that as long as the Barisan Nasional Government stays in power, we will continue to act in moderation to appeal to all groups."

He also said that his administration has been fair to the Chinese community, pointing out that new Chinese schools have been built under his watch, and the government has worked to resolve teacher shortages among Chinese schools.

"This is how fair and just this current BN government is," he said, referring to the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) alliance.

He added that he had agreed last week that new Chinese schools will be built in areas with high Chinese populations.

He also encouraged pupils from Chinese primary schools to improve their proficiency in Bahasa Malaysia to strengthen national unity, the Malaysiakini reported.