CHINA
Cover image via FMT

THE bond shared between Malaysia and China is to be further strengthened after the signing of 14 Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) earlier this week.

These MOUs among others are related to economy, agriculture, education, finance, and defence sectors.

As per stated by the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the 14 business arrangements sealed with China worth nearly RM144 billion, will give bundles of opportunities to Malaysians, ranging from job and business opportunities.

Upon the agreement, many have assumed that this bonding is a safety net for the prime minister to survive allegation and condemnation involving 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

That is a very peculiar assertion; because the country’s good relationship with China is not new.

Within the Southeast Asia region, Malaysia was among the firsts to engage with China, in the course of an ever-changing geopolitical environment.

We are the first to forge relations with Beijing back in 1974, under the governance of former prime minister Tun Abdul Razak.

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The relation is only being strengthened and continued by Datuk Seri Najib, thus it is groundless to say that such an agreement is out of the ordinary. I also think that it’s not a bad thing for us to be friendly with China.

China is known to be a country that takes good care of its friends.

The most prominent is when it helped Sri Lanka to beat the Tamil Tigers. Tamil Tigers had waged a separatist war in the northern and eastern regions of the country for more than 25 years, only to be brought down in 2009.

According to defence analysts, Sri Lanka’s foreign allies had been significant in the triumph, especially China.

The country had really helped Sri Lanka by providing funds and weapons to beat the Tamil Tigers, and this was done within just a year.

China had played a pivotal role in Sri Lanka’s ability to secure a military victory over the separatist through its diplomatic support and assistance in arms sales. And this was after many westerns countries had decided to stop selling weapons to the Sri Lankans, following concerns over human rights abuses.

Meanwhile, over the past few years, the country’s armed forces have also been transformed from a badly equipped, poorly skilled, and discouraged force, into a well-armed, highly trained, and motivated team, thanks to the help of the Chinese government.

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That is the kind of transformation that has given a well-built and safer front line for Sri Lanka.

With the relations between our country and China to be strengthened, and our Bilateral Defence Cooperation is renewed, it will certainly be a plus point for Malaysia to fortify our frontier, amidst the possible escalating terrorism influence in the country.

It is indeed normal for countries to strengthen international relations that will surely bring mutual benefits to both parties. Such an agreement should not be equated as ‘selling the country to the foreign power’.

All in all, China really has better record in helping its friends.

Balqis Rayhana is an independent analyst and Malaysian Access reader. Article written is strictly her personal view. Malaysian Access does not necessarily endorse the opinions given by any third party content provider.

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