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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

NAJIB & HISHAM SO DESPERATE TO LICK BEIJING’S BOOTS? CHINESE SUBMARINE ALLOWED TO DOCK IN SABAH, FUELLING TALK OF CHINESE MILITARY & NAVAL BASES IN MALAYSIA

The Minister of Defence in reply to my parliament question on the reasons for allowing a Chinese submarine to dock and refuel at the Port of Teluk Sepanggar Sabah, said that foreign military vessels including the Chinese naval vessel had obtained permission and diplomatic approval from Wisma Putra. The Minister of Defence said all foreign military vessels including the Chinese submarine are allowed to dock and refuel in Malaysian ports for the purpose of training exercises or stop-over visits.
The Minister of Defence’s reply indicates that Malaysia is moving towards not only having closer ties with China in economic and diplomatic matters but also military matters since it agreed to allow Chinese naval vessels to dock in Malaysian ports for training exercises or stop-over visits, in particular, a submarine with its intelligence gathering capability near Malaysia’s own submarine base.
This appears to be a significant policy shift by the Malaysian government. In the light of the current situation in the South China Sea and the rival claims over the Spratly Islands and Pulau Layang -Layang, the Malaysian government ought to maintain its policy of neutrality and review this policy shift.
I had also asked in my parliament question whether the Malaysian government will allow China to have a military base in Malaysia. The Minister of Defence replied that the Malaysian government has not agreed and has never allowed China or any other foreign nation to use Sabah or any part of Malaysia as a military base.
My question on the possibility of China wanting to use Malaysia as a naval base arises from concerns over China having a 40% stake in the construction of a deep sea port in Kuantan and interests in ports like the Melaka Gateway. China may have strong motivations to use its investments in Malaysia for its own strategic interests. This is what they have done in Gwadar Port in Pakistan and Djibouti in the Horn of Africa where China is building naval bases there.
Although Malaysians welcome China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative, the Malaysian government must be wary of China’s military aspirations and the potential use of the OBOR initiative as leverage to exercise strategic dominance.
William Leong Jee Keen
MP Selayang
– MAILBAG

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