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PETALING JAYA, Sept 30 — Malaysia’s “Look East” Policy will also include China as Putrajaya seeks to rejuvenate and upgrade its policy to deepen collaboration and strengthen business competitiveness, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad asserted.
“We are still looking east and that includes China. There is much to be learnt from China which was a country that was very poor 30 years ago and who suddenly became among the richest countries in the world.
“There is something that they have done which have enabled them to achieve this turnaround. We have to learn from them,” Dr Mahathir told Ghida Fakry of Istanbul-based TRT World in an interview at the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
During a recent trip to Japan, Dr Mahathir said he was happy that the country once again welcomed Malaysia’s “Look East Policy”.
Introduced in 1982 by Dr Mahathir, the policy’s principal goal was to shift the focus of relations from the West towards rising Asia, specifically Japan, and help drive industrialisation in Malaysia.
“When we look east, it is not just looking at Japan but we look at South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and also China.
“Our foreign policy remains the same. We want to be friendly to all countries and we believe that helping others to become prosperous will in turn prosper us,” Mahathir added.
Describing the relationship between both countries as cordial, Dr Mahathir said there is no problem with China as far as 'attitudes' are concerned.
“Malaysia has established relations with China for over 2,000 years and somehow we managed to survive without being conquered by them.
“We believe China is going to stay and be powerful which we will have to make adjustments to that.
However, Dr Mahathir said every country has a right to look after its own interests and will take action if detrimental measures are taken by foreign countries.