KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 17 – Barisan Nasional’s (BN) Strategic Communication Director, Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan has slammed former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for his inability to understand the recent trade deals between Malaysia and China. Describing it as “either deliberate or due to a lack of understanding of the details”, he said Dr Mahathir’s blog post dated Nov 16, 2016 titled Najib’s China Trip was filled with numerous errors and misconceptions.
“MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai was not trying to make Najib’s dealings with China a racial issue. He was pointing out to the unfair criticism of the historic RM143 billion worth of trade and investment deals that Malaysia had signed with our largest trading partner and investor,” he said in a statement issued here tonight.
Abdul Rahman, who is also minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, further said that China delegates who had visited the recent MCA annual assembly had also expressed regret and unhappiness at the opposition over the unfair criticism of the two nations’ trading and investment deals.
“The crux of Dr Mahathir’s criticism seems to centre on the soft loan that Malaysia will take on to build the East Coast Railway project which he said would increase the Malaysia Government’s debts considerably, and that the main contractor would be a Chinese company.
“Although the main contractor will be China’s largest construction company, our agreement is that a significant portion of this work will be sub-contracted to local companies and there will also be a transfer of technology,” he said, adding that this project would involve local contractors, unlike the construction of the KLCC.
The architect who designed the twin towers was an Argentinean while tower 1 was contracted to the South Koreans while a Japanese company built tower 2. Abdul Rahman said, the soft loan given by the Export-Import Bank of China was on very favourable terms with a low interest rate, and had a 20-year tenure, adding that it was also denominated in Ringgit Malaysia and not in USD or Yuan as alleged by Dr Mahathir.
“This makes Dr Mahathir’s argument of foreign exchange risk a moot point,” he added. He further noted that the former prime minister’s partnership with the opposition had led him to using lies and scare tactics to repeatedly undermine the confidence of all Malaysians and allege that Malaysia was on the path of bankruptcy.
“Since the founding of Malaysia, the opposition led by the DAP had continuously claimed that Malaysia will soon go bankrupt. Those who lived in the 1960s onwards, can attest to this. Yet, despite more than 50 years of these bankrupt allegations, Malaysia continues to grow from strength to strength,” he said.
“Currently, all three major international credit rating agencies give Malaysia an ‘A’ credit rating which signifies investment grade. Our gross domestic product (GDP) growth recently recovered in the third quarter to 4.3%; we are now in our 227th consecutive month of trade surplus; we have a current account surplus and our foreign exchange reserves hold steady at USD97 billion,” he said. — Bernama