Tourism and Culture Minister Nazri Abdul Aziz said former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad was "insane" for claiming that selling land to foreign companies was akin to selling off the country to foreigners .
"He is mad. We even sell land to embassies. There is nothing wrong with foreign companies developing land in Malaysia.
"Even when Mahathir was prime minister, land was sold (to foreign companies). Why didn't he think about that?" asked Nazri, when speaking to reporters in Kuala Lumpur today.
He was responding to Mahathir's blog post on Friday which claimed that Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak had adopted new approach to attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) premised on the sale of land.
An example of this, wrote Mahathir, was the Forrest City project in Johor which is primarily targeted at the foreign market, involving some 700,000 homes being built.
The Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia chairperson wrote that the project will ultimately change the demographics of Johor and the entire process reminded him of how Johor had once sold land to Britain, ultimately giving birth to Singapore.
'Can they bring land back to China?'
He wrote that the Forrest City project was being marketed as a winter home for foreigners and if this was the actual purpose, the area would be desolate for most of the year.
However, Nazri said Mahathir's argument does not hold water.
"I want to ask Mahathir: If we were to sell one acre of land to foreigners, will they be able to cut it up and bring it back to China?" he asked.
Nazri said the public should not heed Mahathir's claims which has now been debunked.
"What is he trying to say? He has been talking nonsense of late. He is trying to create problems. We as a country are trying to move forward.
"Hence I urge the public not to entertain this old man's rants," he added.- Mkini