China-Taiwan spat seen as bad omen

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 29 Nov 2003

From the Chinese Press

DETERIORATING China-Taiwan relations will have a negative impact on global economy and social order, said Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce. 

Nanyang Siang Pau quoted the chamber's vice-president, Datuk Bong Hon Liong, as saying that the Malaysian Chinese business community was concerned about the rising tension between China and Taiwan in view of the substantial investment interests they had in both places. 

“We hope the tension will not escalate into a war. That is the last thing we want to see,” he said when receiving a business promotional board delegation from Guilin, China on Thursday. 

Bong said the issue of independence should not be used as a tool to gain political mileage in the run-up to the island's presidential election scheduled for March. 

“I believe the Taiwanese will handle the delicate issue rationally.” 

Bong said the trade value between Malaysia and China had improved over the years, adding that last year's figure stood at RM53.2bil while the trade value was estimated to increase to RM68.4bil this year. 

The same daily also quoted the secretary of the Chinese embassy in Malaysia, Ma Mingqiang, as saying that hosting dinners for local Chinese bodies was a common practice to maintain rapport and the act should not be misconstrued as a “briefing” session. 

Ma was responding to the daily's earlier report stating that officials from the embassy had held informal briefings with Malaysian Chinese guilds and associations to explain China's position on Taiwan's recent push to hold a referendum on a new constitution, which would pave the way for it to declare independence. 

Ma said the China-Taiwan tension would inevitably become a matter of growing public concern. 

Taiwan lawmakers had on Thursday enacted a referendum law that allowed the people to initiate and repeal public rules and policies but constitutional issues, such as the right to alter the nation's name, flag and territory, were excluded from the referendum. 

Sinchew Daily highlighted that the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall would submit a memorandum to the Registrar of Societies next week to urge that the registration of its rival Kuala Lumpur Chinese Assembly Hall be repealed. 

Selangor Hall's board of directors had drafted the memorandum, which also explored the alternative of demanding Kuala Lumpur Hall drop the words “assembly hall” in its registration, based on the argument that both societies had overlapping functions and jurisdiction in recruiting members. 

Kuala Lumpur Hall president Datuk Liew Poon Siak had been with the Selangor Hall's board of directors for more than a decade before setting up the rival organisation. 

“In the last Selangor Hall briefing session, I was the object of many personal attacks. Selangor Hall has already given me a 'death sentence' in the movement. 

“I have already resigned. I see no reason to attend another Selangor Hall meeting,''he was quoted by Sin Chew.  

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