Johari: Malaysia will not end up like Sri Lanka, won’t lease properties to China
January 23, 2017 11:10 am
Malaysian Finance Minister Johari Abdul Ghani has said Malaysia will not end up like Sri Lanka, which was forced to lease its properties for its indebtedness to China.
“That is Sri Lanka, this is Malaysia,” Johari said when met at an event in Kuala Lumpur.
He was responding to prominent socio-economic activist and Bantah TPPA deputy chairperson Azlan Awang, who was quoted by news portal Free Malaysia Today as warning the government of the risks of putting Malaysia in the same trouble that Sri Lanka was over its indebtedness to China.
The people in Sri Lanka took to the streets to protest a deal that would see the government’s plan to grant China a 99-year lease of the port in Hambantota, southern Sri Lanka. The Sri Lanka deal would see a China company take 80 percent of its stake.
“For Malaysia, what will be our pound of flesh if we default on our humongous debts?” Azlan asked. He claimed that Putrajaya’s “indiscriminate and reckless” pursuit of investments and borrowings had led to “huge piles” of debt, without many multiplier effects or long-term economic gains. In rebutting this claim, Johari said Malaysia would only trade with reputable corporates from China. “Any company that wants to trade with us must have reputation,” Johari said.
Last November, Najib announced he succeeded in securing RM143.6 billion in FDI during his trip to China. China will fund and construct the RM55 billion East Coast Rail Link (ECRL). The opposition spoke out against the Chinese investments, worried that it might lead to Malaysia being at the beck and call of the world superpower in its chess game of global politics and hegemony over the South China Sea.