West shouldn’t lecture, Najib says as Malaysia embraces China

Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak and China's Premier Li Keqiang attend a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing, China, November 1, 2016. — Reuters pic
Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak and China's Premier Li Keqiang attend a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing, China, November 1, 2016. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 2 — Malaysia will embrace governments which respect the sovereignty of other states as the era of foreign intervention is over, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today as he looks to strengthen ties with China.

In an editorial in a Chinese state-run paper, China Daily the Prime Minister sought to explain his administration’s move to increase trade and cooperation with China, pointing out the both countries have had a long history of cooperation dating back to the Malacca Sultanate.

“More generally, we believe it is incumbent upon larger countries to treat smaller ones fairly. And this includes former colonial powers. It is not for them to lecture countries they once exploited on how to conduct their own internal affairs today.

“Malaysia and China are united in agreeing on the need to defend the sovereignty of the nation state and in the belief that the individual histories, values and governance systems of different countries must be respected,” Najib wrote.

The PM stressed that it is important for “global institutions” to reflect the views of countries which were given no say in the” legal and security infrastructure” that was set up by the victors of the Second World War.

“This is why we welcome China’s initiative in creating the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. We need new institutions for a new era: of peaceful dialogue, not foreign intervention in sovereign states, and of ‘win-win’ cooperation that benefits all, not just the few,” Najib added.

Calling it the “Asian Century”, Najib said that China and Malaysia must continue working on the partnership forged by his father, the late Tun Abdul Razak in 1974, as well as the ties originally established by the early Ming Dynasty when the first Chinese trade envoys arrived in Melaka centuries ago.

Najib added that the relation between China and Malaysia is one based on mutual trust and respect, although there are issues where the two may not agree with.

“When it comes to the South China Sea, we firmly believe that overlapping territorial and maritime disputes should be managed calmly and rationally through dialogue, in accordance with the rule of law and peaceful negotiations,” he said.

Najib is currently on a six-day official visit to China.

Yesterday, Malaysian and Chinese companies made history with the signing of 14 agreements worth RM144 billion.

PM Najib had said the amount was the biggest ever recorded in conjunction with his official visit overseas, and it was a historic achievement.

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