JOHOR BARU, March 28 — A Johor DAP leader today challenged Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to a debate on the lessons gleaned from his ‘Look East Policy’ and where it will take Malaysia.

Dr Boo Cheng Hau said as an ordinary citizen, he would like to debate with Dr Mahathir about what has been learnt from the ‘Look East Policy’ besides fancy world-class events such as the Formula One races and the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA).

The Johor DAP committee member said without true policy reforms including education, these projects are more like the leader’s self-entertaining toys.

“As early as in 1894, China’s revolutionary Dr Sun Yat Sen, a western trained medical doctor like Dr Mahathir himself, wrote an appeal letter to the imperial court hoping for an ear, stating that the European countries were strong not for their impregnable warships, canons and diehard soldiers, but for four things: their education system that allows all to thrive, agricultural/land reforms, well-managed economy and effective logistics in trades and conduct of businesses,” said Dr Boo in a Facebook posting yesterday.


He again reiterated his stand today through WhatsApp, saying that this was his official challenge to the 93-year-old prime minister to debate what we should learn from his ‘Look East Policy’.

Dr Boo, who is currently a DAP state committee member, said the world-class events would ensure the country’s end rather than save it.

“This is exactly what Tun Mahathir is doing now. Playing on Formula One and LIMA aerospace expo without improving our institutions and education system. The country’s future continues to be doomed,” he said, referencing Dr Mahathir through his honorific title.


However, the 54-year-old former Johor Opposition chief, credited PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s simple words in tackling the country’s challenges: Just bread-and-butter issues.

“As Anwar said, taking care of the people’s basic welfare (such as food) is the immediate priority.

“Playing on hardware like weaponry and canons would ensure the country’s end than saving it.

“This is exactly what Dr Mahathir is doing now — playing on Formula One and LIMA without improving our institutions and education system,” said Dr Boo, adding that such practices may doom the country’s future.

On Monday, Dr Mahathir, who is also the Langkawi MP, opened the 15th edition of LIMA in Langkawi.

He initiated the event 28 years ago when he also unveiled the first Blueprint for the Development of the Aerospace Industry in Malaysia.

In February this year, Dr Mahathir had expressed hope that the Formula One event would be brought back to Malaysia.

He was instrumental in the creation of the Sepang Circuit, which was built to host Formula One races.

The track hosted Formula One races from 1999 to 2017, when it was discontinued due to declining interest in the race here and the high costs incurred in hosting it.