Malaysia says it is keen for more 'fair' deals with China
KUALA LUMPUR, April 23 (Reuters) - Malaysia is hopeful of
getting more "fair" investment from China, its foreign minister
said on Tuesday, after both countries agreed to resume two
multi-billion dollar projects just before a Belt and Road
conference in Beijing this week.
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who came to power
after a stunning election victory last May, had vowed to
renegotiate or cancel what he calls unfair Chinese projects
authorised by his predecessor.
Earlier this month, both countries agreed to resume
construction of the East Coast Rail Line (ECRL) at a discount.
Last week, Mahathir announced the resumption of a multi-billion
dollar property development linked to China.
"We want to improve our ties with China. That is a fact. But
it doesn't mean we will do whatever it takes," Malaysian Foreign
Minister Saifuddin Abdullah told Reuters in an interview.
"Agreements and arrangements have to be fair for both
sides," he said.
The minister said ties between the countries had improved
since the resumption of the two projects - both part of China's
ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a key policy of
President Xi Jinping that envisions rebuilding the old Silk Road
to connect China with Asia, Europe and beyond with massive
Mahathir will travel to Beijing on Wednesday to attend a
forum on the Belt and Road initiative.
Mahathir and the Malaysian delegation are also expected to
hold a bilateral meeting on the sidelines with Xi, premier Li
Keqiang and Li Zhanshu, the chairman of the standing committee
of the national people's congress, according to the Malaysian
Saifuddin, who will be part of Malaysia's delegation, said
Malaysia is open to Chinese investments from "any sector", but
particularly in high-tech manufacturing.
He said Malaysia is also optimistic that China will increase
its imports of Malaysian palm oil, on top of an increase of
500,000 tonnes premier Li had pledged during Mahathir's last
visit in August. Palm oil is a key Malaysian export.
"We are hopeful that with the BRI conference and the
positive closure of the two projects, we would be receiving more
investments from China," Saifuddin said.
(Reporting by Joseph Sipalan
Editing by Frances Kerry)
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