KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says that Malaysians may not be able to compete with the Chinese if they were allowed into the country en masse.
"If we bring three million of them from China, what will happen to us? They are hard-working and intelligent and have knowledge in business," he said.
Dr Mahathir said that the Chinese will come as successful businessmen and their attitudes will be different from ethnic Chinese here and it will be hard for locals to compete.
"They are not labourers but those who have succeeded. Are we able to compete with them?
"So, we have to admit our weakness and protect ourselves until we can compete with them," he said at The Future of the Bumiputra and the Nation Congress 2018 on Saturday (Sept 1).
He said that the government was willing to open the country to foreign direct investments from China, but not for their citizens to buy up land and control our cities.
"They will buy our land and we will move away from the cities and live at the edge of the forest - if not in the forest itself. This is the picture I foresee," he said.
"What we want is a foreign investment - for them to set up factories and that the workers are Malaysians and not foreigners.
"It is not for them to own big lands and to develop luxurious cities that we cannot afford to live in.
He said that the Chinese would not be coming in as labourers as in the past.
"In my time, they came in as labourers, and they sell taugeh (bean sprouts) and taukua (dried bean curd) and wooden planks. They were low-level workers, and many rich Malays had amahs (Chinese nannys).
"What has happened to their children? If we care to find out, they have achieved success and some have become billionaires," he said.