The new China Syndrome: don’t tell Chinese balik Tongsan, Tongsan coming to Malaysia


May the goodwill generated from the Middle Kingdom’s investments coming our way be infectious.

NO doubt about it – the love is back. MCA is basking in its renewed affection and appreciation as a useful partner to Barisan Nasional.

That was supremely obvious in Prime Minister and BN chairman Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s glowing speech at MCA’s annual general assembly on Sunday.

In the three years since the devastating general election in 2013, MCA has worked hard at rebuilding itself and has regained some of its mojo.

And it showed at this year’s assembly, which was very different from the mood and tone of the AGM post-GE13, when the party was still smarting from the anger and disappointment of its coalition partner.

Najib, feeling terribly let down by the lack of Chinese support, had lashed out at the community, calling their massive support for the Opposition a “Chinese tsunami”.

Not only that, he defended a Ma­lay newspaper’s front-page head­line: Apa lagi Cina mahu? (What else do the Chinese want?).

That year at its annual general assembly, he pointedly told MCA, whose parliamentary seats had been reduced to a mere seven and state seats to 11, half of what it won in the 2008 general election, that it needed “political Viagra” to raise its flagging spirit.

It was indeed a horribly low point for MCA. There were calls for the party to leave BN, but the leadership soldiered on, refusing to give up a long-established partnership.

A year later, at the MCA AGM, Najib did not mince his words again when he urged the party delegates to stop fighting among themselves because he found the factions confusing and tiresome.

All that has changed. On Sunday, he declared that there was no more Team A or B, only Team MCA, in recognition of Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai’s leadership in bringing unity and transforming the party.

But there was another feel-good factor at work at the AGM: the afterglow from Najib’s successful visit to Beijing a week earlier.

The Chinese government really rolled out the red carpet for Najib and his delegation, which included Liow, MCA deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong and other MCA leaders, during a six-day visit that netted investment deals amounting to RM144bil, covering bilateral trade, education, culture and defence.

Beijing’s warm relationship with Putrajaya and China’s position as Malaysia’s largest trading partner did not happen overnight.

China has always remembered Malaysia for being the first Asean country to establish diplomatic relations with it when communism was still seen as a threat to the region.

That was thanks to Najib’s father, second Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, who made that historic visit in 1974.

But it was the Malaysian Chinese community that went on to deepen and strengthen those ties. Again, this is something China remembers and is grateful for: Malaysian Chi­nese businessmen who invested in China in the late 1970s when Deng Xiaoping had just opened its doors to foreign investment.

Among them is the stellar tycoon Robert Kuok, said to wield great influence with the Chinese leadership, whose long-standing admiration for him culminated in CCTV, Chi­na’s state TV broadcaster, bestowing on him the China Econo­mic Per­son of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012.

Among the stories told include how Kuok earned the Chinese government’s trust and affection after he, the renowned Sugar King, secretly helped China overcome a severe sugar shortage in the early 1970s.

Interestingly, when Chinese leaders visit Kuala Lumpur or Singapore, they invariably choose to stay at Kuok’s Shangri-La hotel and that includes former president Hu Jintao and his successor, Xi Jinping, which is surely a measure of their continuing esteem for Kuok.

While the magnitude of the new investment deals raised eyebrows, China’s getting involved in building and funding major infrastructure projects isn’t new. After all, it was a Chinese construction company, CHEC, and a cheap Chinese government loan that helped build the second Penang bridge.

Granted, people have the right to be cautious and demand to know the details of such deals, and that should be respected. But there is no doubt that China has come to the rescue of Malaysia at a time when our economy needed a huge boost.

More importantly, Najib’s administration knows the role MCA leaders played in helping seal the deals.

After all, many of the MoUs signed concerned the development of transport infrastructure like the East Coast Rail Link and ports, which are under Liow’s portfolio as Transport Minister.

As reported, Liow made frequent trips to Beijing for meetings and wooed the Chinese to invest in Port Klang. Not only that, he was always on hand to host visiting Chinese dignitaries, like his counterpart Yang Chuantang, and Prime Minister Li Keqiang.

All the hard work came to fruition with the huge investments and the affirmation of trusted friendship between the two nations.

As Najib said, he continued to look east, like former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Look East policy, because China was the world’s biggest economy. But frankly, there isn’t any other direction to look for big investment.

The realisation of China’s importance to Malaysia is fast taking root; so much so, the Red Shirts which, just a year ago tried to storm Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown, have stopped their outright anti-Chinese attacks after Ambassador Dr Huang Huikang made it clear that Beijing would not stand for “incidents which threaten the interests of the country, infringe upon the rights of its citizens in doing business, or disrupt the relationship between Malaysia and China”.

But now that Najib has warmed up again to MCA and the Chinese from China are all the rage, it would really, really be nice if that love and goodwill could be spread around to Malaysian Chinese who have long invested in this place they call home and helped build it into a modern, progressive, successful nation.

It is time to stop making the Chinese community the convenient whipping boy and the bogeyman to frighten the Malays for political expediency. And no more allowing groups and individuals to spew hate speech and dangle the threat of another May 13.

This type of divisive politics has gone so bad that Liow reiterated his call for a National Reconciliation Council to strengthen the two pillars of national unity and cultural diversity, which he said had come under attack.

That is what is sorely needed to improve MCA’s chances of winning back the Chinese vote in the next general election, which is Najib’s ultimate challenge to the party.

As the joke that is going around now: no point telling the Chinese to balik Tongsan (go back to China) because Tongsan is coming to Malaysia.

By June H.L. Wong, So Aunty, So What? The Star/Asian News Network

Aunty was determined not to write about Donald Trump but she must mention she was gobsmacked by his five-year-old granddaughter’s ability to speak Mandarin.
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Malaysian PM Najib given official welcome at China’s Great Hall of the People https://youtu.be/v87tJF3uO7U   Prime Minister …

Xi, Trump discuss China-US cooperation


Working together ‘only correct choice’, Chinese leader tells president-elect

President Xi Jinping said on Monday that “there are a lot of things” China and the United States need to, and can, cooperate on, in a phone call congratulating Donald Trump on his US presidential election victory.

“Facts have proved that cooperation is the only correct choice for China and the United States,” Xi told Trump, noting that the past 37 years of diplomatic relations have brought concrete benefits to the people of the two countries, as well as facilitating global peace and stability.

Since China and the US now have important opportunities and great potential for cooperation, Xi said the two countries should better coordinate in promoting the economic development of both countries and the world, and expand exchanges in all fields to bring bilateral ties forward.

“During the call, the leaders established a clear sense of mutual respect for one another,” a statement from Trump’s presidential transition office said. “President-elect Trump stated that he believes the two leaders will have one of the strongest relationships for both countries moving forward.”

The two leaders also agreed to keep in close contact and meet at an early date.

Tao Wenzhao, a researcher of Sino-US relations at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said mutual interests between the US and China will not be subject to US political changes. Both US parties subscribe to developing relations with Beijing.

Tao said it will take time to see how Trump’s China policy develops after he takes office, though the new administration “will not necessarily resort to a trade war with China”, despite his statements during the campaign and pressure from many US politicians for greater containment of China.

Tao said that is “because he is a smart businessman, and a trade war surely impacts both sides”.

Fu Mengzi, a Sino-US relations researcher at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, said there should be a distinction between Trump’s statements during the campaign and his policies as president.

“He knows the importance of China-US relations. He will find some ‘China hands’ to draft his policies toward China,” he said.

At a daily news conference on Monday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China has remained in close communication with the US side, including Trump’s team.

Geng also said that China expects to expand cooperation with the new US administration at all levels and in various fields, including infrastructure construction .

“The fundamentals of China-US relations will not change in the future, even though frictions may occur,” Fu said.

Tao said the Chinese government will continue to cooperate with the Obama administration, citing the 27th China-US Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade coming up in Washington, DC.

By Mo Jingxi | China Daily.
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Stop bitting the helping hand


Many of the negative responses over the deals with China seem to be politically motivated, stemming from ignorance and, in some cases, ethnic prejudice against all things Chinese.

 

YOU can be angry with Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak but let’s not lose our objectivity. The Prime Minister brought in RM144bil worth of deals signed between Malaysia and China.

Many Asean countries are eyeing that kind of money from China but strangely, some Malaysians’ sense of rationality is becoming warped, even perverted, and they feel it is prudent to go into senseless name-calling and mindless smearing of China.

We have to be careful here – remarks like Malaysia indulging in yellow culture, selling our soul to China and comments which smacks of racism are surely not the way to treat a friendly superpower nation like China.

Those making such disparaging remarks are doing a disservice to Malaysia. It’s akin to throwing sand into our rice bowl.

Hate the PM as much as you want as this is how democracy works. But do some of us need to lash out with political rhetoric against China?

It is one thing to score points against our political rivals but surely, there must be a line drawn – let’s not bite the hand that is trying to help us at a time when Malaysia needs to secure more foreign investment to shore up our flagging revenue from oil and gas.

Many of the negative responses over these deals with China seem to be politically motivated, stemming from ignorance and, in some cases, ethnic prejudice against all things Chinese, whether it has to do with mainland China or Chinese Malaysians.

Let’s look at the numbers – foreign investors (including the US) are net sellers of stocks in Bursa Malaysia and have reportedly dumped RM948.1mil in stocks although some have said it is even more.

Malaysia can no longer depend on traditional foreign direct investments from the US and other Western countries.

The reality is that China invested as much as US$84bil (RM370bil) in 2012, establishing it as the world’s third largest outward investor after the US and Japan. China has aggressively eclipsed other nations.

The shift towards China, according to one study, is obvious as the republic emerged as Malaysia’s largest trading partner, enjoying a 13.8% share of Malaysian trade since 2012.

Malaysian firms (especially those owned and managed by Malaysians of Chinese descent) have also been actively investing in China since it liberalised its economy in 1979. Some of these firms played a crucial role in attracting mainland Chinese firms to invest in Malaysia, according to studies.

Everyone knows that China has the money. And Malaysia has an edge over other Asean countries because of the link between Chinese Malaysians and China that has given us an advantageous position, especially when China increasingly sees Singapore as a US ally.

There are some who are unhappy with China’s purchase of 1MDB’s energy assets in Edra Global Energy Bhd for RM9.83bil by the state-owned China General Nuclear Power Corp recently, suggesting that the republic was only helping Najib out in the 1MDB controversy.

But let’s look at other investments – even before the recent trip by the PM. China has put in a multi-billion ringgit purchase of a substantial equity stake in Bandar Malaysia via China Railway Construction Corporation.

China Railway Engineering Corporation has announced plans to set up its multi-billion regional headquarters in Bandar Malaysia, which will host the main terminal for the proposed KL-Singapore High Speed Rail project.

It has been reported that the Chinese government has started buying more Malaysian Government Securities (MGS) and this inflow of new money could possibly rise to RMB50bil (about RM30bil) in total or 8.5% of Malaysia’s total outstanding MGS as of early April.

Those who have been grumbling should answer if there’s any big money coming from the US, Australia or Britain.

And many of us are also wary about money coming in from the Saudis – some are alleging that they are exporting radical Islamic values to Malaysia. Do we need this?

Like it or not, China, apart from being Malaysia’s largest trading partner which takes up 19% of its exports, is presently one of the top five foreign investors in the country.

Investments from China in the manufacturing, construction, infrastructure and property sectors are at significant levels now.

According to official data, China’s investments in the manufacturing sector here from 2009 to 2015 totalled RM13.6bil, creating 24,786 jobs.

Malaysia also needs more Chinese tourists to visit our country and we hope to attract two million Chinese tourists by the end of the year. Our tourism industry has seen a growth of 23% in arrivals from China since the e-visa entry programme was introduced in March this year.

China is the third largest source of tourists for us after Singapore and Indonesia. Malaysia targets eight million Chinese tourists by 2020.

Only 10% of China’s population travelled out of their country and yet they have spent US$229bil (RM1tril) globally last year. They easily beat the number of many Western countries put together!

They spend more than other tourists and they travel in bigger numbers. We all know that in Western countries, Chinese-speaking shop assistants are specifically hired to engage with this segment of customers.

Malaysia is not on the radar of Chinese tourists but more young Chinese tourists have chosen to visit Sabah because of its beautiful sea and lush forests.

Chinese tourists spent US$215bil (RM948bil) abroad last year, 53% more than in 2014, according to a World Travel & Tourism Council report, a figure which is more than the annual economic output of Qatar. Chinese tourists are now spending way more than anyone else, including the Americans.

The number of Chinese tourists travelling globally has more than doubled to 120 million over the last five years, according to data from the China National Tourist Office and WTTC. That means one in every 10 international traveller now is from China.

Malaysia is missing out on this action, unfortunately. For a start, we can make travelling into Malaysia easier for them and having more direct flights will help.

Let’s give credit where credit is due. Najib has done well, from his recent trip to China.

It will even be better if our own Air Asia gets to fly into more Chinese cities as this will surely help boost Chinese tourist arrivals.

Let’s get real, all of us.

Certainly we have the right to express our concerns over the terms of some projects, and to seek clearer details, but let’s not drag in unnecessary elements which strain bilateral ties.

By Wong Chun Wai

Wong Chun Wai began his career as a journalist in Penang, and has served The Star for over 27 years in various capacities and roles. He is now the group’s managing director/chief executive officer and formerly the group chief editor.

On The Beat made its debut on Feb 23 1997 and Chun Wai has penned the column weekly without a break, except for the occasional press holiday when the paper was not published. In May 2011, a compilation of selected articles of On The Beat was published as a book and launched in conjunction with his 50th birthday. Chun Wai also comments on current issues in The Star.

Related:  Digital free trade zone makes much sense

 

 

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TPPA in danger of collapse after its biggest critic wins US presidency


KUALA LUMPUR: The Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) faces its biggest challenge with the election of its major critic Donald Trump as US president. The agreement will collapse without the participation of United States, said its prime mover in Malaysia, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.

The International Trade and In­­dus­try Minister explained that for TPPA to be ratified, it needs at least six countries, accounting for 85% of the combined gross domestic product of the 12 signatories.

“Without the United States, there will be no TPPA,” he said when met in Parliament yesterday.

He added that failure to carry out TPPA may affect the Malaysian economy.

“We went into TPPA for the overall interest of Malaysia. To be a part of this process, to do more trading, as we believe that this will help trade and investment for Malaysia.

“Among the reasons why we joined was to get access to Mexico and Canada, countries that we haven’t gotten access to,” he said.

He, however, was quick to add that it was too soon to make an analysis on the matter.

Trump’s shock victory stunned capital markets around the world with investors seeking safe haven assets such as gold to brace the period of uncertainties.

In an immediate after-effect Asian stock markets fell, with Bursa Malaysia performing relatively better than most other markets, shedding less than 1%.

The US dollar index, which measures the strength of the currency against a basket of currencies, spiked to more than 1,207, largely due to the weakening of emerging market currencies and strengthening of safe-haven currencies such as the Yen and Swiss francs.

The ringgit fell to RM4.224 against the greenback, a nine-month low since Feb 25. Gold spot prices went up by almost 5% to US$1,337 (RM5,645) as investors sought shelter in safe haven assets in the period of uncertainty.

Ministers and chief negotiators of TTPA countries are expected to meet in Peru soon to take stock on the fate of the agreement.

International Trade and Industry secretary-general Datuk J. Jayasiri, who was Malaysia’s chief TPPA negotiator, said there was no indication so far that Washington under President Barack Obama would not table the Bill in the US Congress for ratification.

“All indications from US Trade Representative Michael Froman is that they are working hard to table it. The US has its own domestic process and for Malaysia we will continue the process of amending our laws,” he said.

Peru will host the annual Asia Pacific Economic Cooperaton (Apec) summit on Nov 19 to be attended by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak. Obama is also expected to attend.

American Malaysia Chamber of Commerce (Amcham) executive director Siobhan Das said US business investments would continue to find a home in Malaysia.

“Amcham supports all efforts that enable free and fair trade between all parties, and looks forward to working with the new administration to grow US business interests in Malaysia,” said Das.

Malaysian Association for Ame­ri­can Studies (MAAS) President Prof Dr K.S. Nathan believed that Trump would try to fine tune but would not scrap the agreement.

“They may renegotiate some aspects of it but I don’t see Trump pulling back on the TPPA or even the North American Free Trade Agreement”.

The US Embassy’s charge d’affaires Edgard Kagan explained it was still possible that TPPA would be approved by US lawmakers.

“There are different views on trade in the US. President Obama is committed to the TPPA and we will just have to see what happens,” he said.

In theory, the TPPA could still be ratified by Congress during its “lame duck” session.

This is the session which takes places after the US presidential election but before the inauguration on Jan 20 next year.

BY Razak ahmad, Neville spykerman, Mergawati zulfakar, Loshana k shagar, Hemananthani sivanandam, Rahimy rahim, Martin carvalho, andd. Kanyakumari The Star/ANN

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Jack Ma advisor to Malaysian Govt on digital economy to start with e-FTZ


https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/fb74uSG-7Ro

China-Malaysia Promising relationship: Najib delivering his speech in Beijing. ‘A digital economy with e-commerce is Malaysia’s next growth strategy,’ says the PM.

Alibaba founder Jack Ma agrees to be advisor to Malaysian Govt on digital economy

BEIJING: Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma has agreed to act as an advisor to the Malaysian Government on its digital economy aspirations, says Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

“We will be in partnership with Jack on the path and route to the future,” said Najib.

He said that Ma had also agreed to come to Malaysia to attend the launch of its E free trade zone in March.

Najib said this before he launched Alitrip Tourism Malaysia together with Ma Friday to lure Chinese tourists to Malaysia.

“You can see that China is the place to be. It has 300 million middle-class people, larger than US population.

“We hope, together with Alibaba, we can make Malaysia and China more prosperous,” he said.

In his Budget 2017 speech on Oct 21, Najib announced the setting up of a Digital Free Zone.

He also unveiled the Digital Maker Movement and the Malaysia Digital Hub to help nurture talents and create innovators to build a fully sustainable digital economy.

The digital economy is said to account for 16% of Malaysia’s GDP and is expected to rise.

By Ho Wah Foon The Star

Adviser Jack Ma to start with e-FTZ

Digital push: Najib with Alibaba Group executive chairman Jack Ma (left) during launching ceremonyjof the Alitrip Malaysia Tourism Pavilion. Looking on is Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Addul Aziz – Bernama.

BEIJING: Alibaba founder and executive chairman Jack Ma will kick-start his role as adviser to the Malaysian Government on its digital economy at the launch of a e-free trade zone (e-FTZ) in March.

Ma, a global business icon, has ideas on the set up of the e-trade zone, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said.

“I had a (30-min) meeting with Mr Jack Ma. He has agreed to be adviser to our Government on the digital economy,” said the Prime Minister.

“Jack Ma did not ask for payment. I don’t think we can afford to pay him,” Najib said in jest later to a reporter’s question.

In his Budget 2017 ( see related posts below) speech last month, Najib announced that a digital economy that includes e-commerce would be Malaysia’s next growth strategy as this could bring about double-digit growth.

Alibaba is the largest and most well-known e-commerce giant in China and the world.

“We will be in partnership with Ma on the path and route to the future,” said Najib before launching the Alitrip Tourism Malaysia Pavilion in collaboration with Alibaba Group.

Najib said Malaysia would have to act fast to implement Alipayment, further develop online banking and online commerce as “we don’t want to miss the boat”.

On the pavilion, Najib said: “You can see that China is the place to be. It has 300 million middle-class people, larger than the US population.

“We hope, together with Alibaba, we can make Malaysia and China more prosperous,” he said.

Ma, before launching the pavilion jointly with Najib with the premier’s mobile phone, urged Chinese tourists to visit Malaysia and enjoy the culture there.

“We have a long history between these two countries. About 2,000 years ago, Chinese went to Malaya to make a living. Now, we should go there to enjoy life – not to survive,” said Ma.

He took the opportunity to pay tribute to the Prime Minister’s father for having the foresight to be the first leader in Asean to establish diplomatic ties with China when others shunned the republic for being a communist nation.

“Today, we are benefiting from this decision made 42 years ago. Malaysia is China’s largest trading partner in Asean and China is Malaysia’s biggest trading partner.”

On Malaysians, he noted that on average each Malaysian has 230 friends on his social network.

“This means Malaysians are friendly, trusting and inclusive. This is an excellent culture.

“I love Malaysia… you have the culture, environment, food and hospitality and inclusiveness.”

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Alitrip expected to bring 8 million Chinese tourists

.Alitripexpected-to-bring8millionChinesetourists

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Keep China’s faith in us; Relationship with China is crucial, says expert

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak (L) and China’s Premier Li Keqiang at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing. – EPA

Malaysia-China ties to a new high

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Malaysia-China ties to a new high


Malaysian PM Najib given official welcome at China’s Great Hall of the People

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/v87tJF3uO7U

 

 

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and China’s Premier Li Keqiang inspect honour guards during a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing, China, November 1, 2016. Reuters

BEIJING, China: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said his current visit to China will propel bilateral ties between the two nations to a new high.

“We have said that bilateral relations are at a historic high. I can say that with confidence.

“But more so, this visit will being it to a new high because the comprehensive nature of our strategic partnership has now been translated into meaningful action,” he said in his opening remarks at the bilateral meeting between Malaysia and China at the Great Hall of the People here.

Najib also thanked his counterpart Li Keqiang, seated across from him, for the warm welcome given to the Malaysian delegation.

“It’s warm in the room, but outside it’s a little cold,” Li replied in jest. The weather in Beijing is currently chilly as winter approaches, with a high today of 11.7 degrees Celsius and an overnight low of – 2.2 degrees.

Najib was given earlier given an official welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People here.

Najib, who is on a six-day official visit, was welcomed on arrival by China prime minister Li Keqiang. Also present were ministers and government officials accompanying the prime minister’s delegation.

The national anthems of both countries were played, followed by Najib’s inspection of the guard accompanied by Li. The Malaysian prime minister was also given a 19-gun salute.

Earlier, Najib had attended the Malaysia-China Business Forum, titled “Strengthening Cooperation, Building Opportunities”. The luncheon was attended by more than 400 Chinese and Malaysian businessmen. – New Straits Times

Xi vows to cement all-round strategic partnership with Malaysia

 

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) meets with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in Beijing, capital of China, Nov. 3, 2016. (Xinhua/Li Xueren)

Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in Beijing on Thursday, pledging to boost cooperation with the country in diverse areas and cement their all-round strategic partnership.

Xi hailed the progress of relations since diplomatic ties were established 42 years ago, citing mutual respect, trust, win-win cooperation and close communications.

He urged both countries to maintain frequent high-level exchanges, deepen political trust, keep to the right direction of bilateral relations and continue to support each other on issues related to each other’s major concerns.

Xi called on the two sides to combine their development strategies, and to lay a solid foundation for stronger trade cooperation.

China welcomes Malaysia’s participation in the Belt and Road Initiative, and is ready to work with the country to increase cooperation in areas such as infrastructure, energy, technology, agriculture and finance, he said.

Xi also urged stronger bilateral cooperation in education, culture, health, media, and in fighting terrorism and cross-border crime.

Najib congratulated the successful convening of the sixth plenary session of the 18th Communist Party of China Central Committee last week, and praised China’s economic and social development.

It is proven in practice that socialism with Chinese characteristics is a correct choice for China, he said.

Calling the two countries friendly neighbors and trustworthy friends, he said Malaysia-China ties are currently at their highest level.

Malaysia is glad to see China’s Belt and Road Initiative get a warm response, he said, vowing to facilitate the cooperation in trade, transportation, and port construction, with China under the Belt and Road framework.

Malaysia is committed to boosting ASEAN-China relations, he added.

Najib is on an official visit to China from Oct. 31 to Nov. 5. Xinhua

Najib’s visit reveals feeble US rebalance

Malaysia has agreed to buy four Chinese naval vessels that operate close to shore, after the country’s Prime Minister Najib Razak met with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang early this week. Malaysia usually purchased military equipment from the US and the latest move marks its first significant defense deal with China. Some have called it a “new milestone.” The two sides signed 14 agreements worth 231.8 billion yuan ($34.28 billion) on Wednesday, and Najib called it a “historic achievement.”

Commentaries speculating that Najib is becoming the “second Duterte” in Southeast Asia and that Malaysia is “another Asian domino falling toward Beijing” have run wild in mainstream Western media. The New York Times contended that “American efforts to contain Chinese ambitions in the South China Sea depend on a ring of allies, but the region’s united front may be crumbling.”

Najib said in a Chinese media outlet recently that former colonial powers should not “lecture countries they once exploited on how to conduct their own internal affairs today.” The tensions between Malaysia and the US brewed by Washington’s interference in Malaysia’s internal affairs are similar to those between the US and the Philippines caused by the former’s accusation against Duterte’s human rights abuses during its anti-drug campaign.

The US’ sense of superiority in politics and morality often makes it point its fingers at developing countries. In 1993, it forcefully inspected a Chinese freighter suspected by its intelligence service of carrying weapons and ended up finding nothing. It launched attacks on Iraq over its alleged ownership of weapons of mass destruction, but faced the same fate.

Chinese people don’t think that Kuala Lumpur is leaning toward Beijing. China and Malaysia are developing their ties steadily. China has been Malaysia’s biggest trading partner and replaced the US to become its largest investor in 2015. The two have minor territorial disputes but have managed them well. China’s relations with neighboring countries ought to be like this.

Friendly ties between China and Malaysia do not exclude a third party. Defense cooperation, which displays a higher level of strategic mutual trust, should not be labeled as “a turning point for the region.”

The fears of US and Western opinion reveals that the US rebalance to the Asia-Pacific is eyeing unrealistic goals, which are to form an alliance system in the West Pacific that includes most countries so as to contain China. The West views China as an expansionist imperial state like Japan used to be in the past, and requires regional countries to be “loyal” to Washington.

The rebalancing strategy does not hold water. China has never thought of military expansion as Japan did. It cherishes peace and stability like all regional stakeholders. China is sincere in tackling territorial disputes through peaceful negotiations. A “nightmare” in the South China Sea is nothing but an illusion created by the US and Japan.

Washington should reflect upon itself. It is an external country and its presence in the region should contribute to peace and stability. It will not stay long if it keeps driving a wedge between regional countries. – Global Times

China needs strong core leadership: media survey


‘Transitional period demands strong administration’

Chinese people believe that a strong central leadership is indispensable for the rise of the country, and highly anticipate further confirmation of the role of the core leadership by President Xi Jinping during this period of historic significance, according to a poll recently released by a magazine affiliated with the People’s Daily.

The survey, conducted by the People’s Tribune, a magazine affiliated with the newspaper, through questionnaires, face-to-face and telephone interviews, as well as online polls between April 15 and September 8, interviewed 15,596 people living in cities and rural areas. The survey results were released earlier this month.

The main findings were that a strong central leadership as well as a pioneering figure is especially critical for a rising world power, and that as president and general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, Xi, with full leadership qualities, is supported whole-heartedly by a wide range of officials and people.

To the question of why a country in a transitional period needs a strong central leadership, most respondents strongly agreed that it is vital to safeguard a country’s sovereignty and national security, putting the approval rate at 4.50, on a 5-point scale from disagree to complete approval, the survey found. This is followed by the number of respondents who think that core leadership is as important to “guide the nation toward a lofty goal” or that it was “particularly important for a populous and multi-ethnic country.”

This year, the necessity for strong leadership has been a theme expounded by many media organizations.

The Guangming Daily on October 9 published a commentary by Fan Dezhi, a senior official at the Party History Research Center of the CPC Central Committee, which asserted that “A strong core leadership is needed more than ever before to achieve the great dream of the renewal of the Chinese nation.”

To promote the core leadership of the Party, the priority is to “conform with the CPC Central Committee, with General Secretary Xi Jinping as well as with the Party’s theories, guidelines, principles and policies,” read a commentary in the Qiushi Journal in March, the flagship magazine of the CPC Central Committee.

Social and political stability, which can be realized by a potent government backed by public support, is the prerequisite for a smooth transition and reform of any country, said Zhi Zhenfeng, a legal expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

“Both the rise of great Western powers and the rapid development of developing countries needed a strong core leadership and powerful government,” Zhuang Deshui, deputy director of the Research Center for Government Integrity-Building at Peking University, told the Global Times.

Zhuang cited the examples of Otto von Bismarck who unified Germany in the 19th century and the strong Japanese government that carried out Meiji Restoration to bring about its modernization and Westernization.

China should unwaveringly uphold the CPC’s leadership if it hopes to realize a stable and sustainable development, Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, said in March, adding that everyone should conform to the ideology and actions of the CPC Central Committee with Xi as general secretary.

“Since China faces complicated situations in different areas, coupled with a huge population, only a strong core leadership is able to coordinate the interests of different groups while taking full account of the majority of its nationals,” Zhuang noted.

Zhi said a lack of consciousness of “the core” has made a few local officials and Party members fail to follow or strictly implement the policies issued by the CPC Central Committee.

Charismatic leadership

The People’s Tribune poll found that the Chinese people are drawn to the charisma of Xi. The survey found that most respondents believe that Xi has leadership qualities, namely “strategic willpower with full confidence,” “bravery to tackle problems head-on” and “intelligence to cure both the symptoms and root causes of problems.” The list is rounded out by “top-level design with wisdom and philosophy” and “personal charisma to set an example for others.”

When asked which trait is essential for a core leadership to give full play in reality, 79.13 percent of those surveyed said a “leader of integrity and ability.”

In addition, the poll results showed that people from all walks of life highly anticipate the further confirmation of Xi’s role as the core of the leadership.

Without releasing the specific data, the survey found that most respondents believe that officials that lacked “the consciousness of the core” would go astray and lose their sense of responsibility or discipline.

“Only by establishing authority in the CPC Central Committee can the Party and the nation be forceful. In this sense, firmly espousing Xi as the core is a matter of direction, principle and realistic needs,” the magazine quoted anonymous officials who participated in the poll.

Therefore, we should further strengthen the consciousness of the core in the Party and across the country, improve intra-Party political life and the leadership system of the Party and the State, and further confirm Xi’s core role in the critical rise of China, said the survey report. – Global Times.

Xi as core long affirmed by public opinion

All Chinese know clearly that the Xi’s leadership has played a critical role in the changes in China in the past four years and the significance of the word “core” being written into the Party document. The sixth plenum is themed on strict Party governance

The Express Tribune

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