KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak says Malaysia welcomes ties with China and cherishes the strong bonds of friendship between the two nations.
The Prime Minister said that such ties are good for both Chinese firms and investors and also for Malaysians.
"This is in keeping with Malaysia's history as a seafaring, trading nation, open to the world and steadfast in our belief that it is building relationships, rather than closing the door in the face of our friends, that will bring prosperity to all," he said.
Najib was speaking at the Malaysia-China Bilateral Cooperation Lunar New Year luncheon organised by the Malaysia-China Business Council (MCBC) here at noon Tuesday.
He told the 400-strong crowd that bilateral trade between Malaysia and China last year remained strong at US$96.3bil (RM375.6bil).
He added that from January to October last year, the nation saw 1.89 million Chinese tourist arrivals.
Najib added that Malaysia welcomes all forms of investment, be it from China, Japan, India, Saudi Arabia or any other countries.
The tangible benefits from these, Najib said, were 2.26 million new jobs, low inflation and low unemployment since 2009 and years of healthy economic growth.
He also refuted a "former Malaysian leader's" comments that Malaysia was selling its sovereignty to China, saying that this was "scaremongering" for political gain.
"We have had more investment from Japan than from China and Hong Kong in the long run. But as far as I can tell, we are still a sovereign nation!" he said.
Meanwhile, MCBC chairman Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting said under the leadership of Najib, Malaysia had been enjoying its best-ever period of bilateral ties with China, and had even successfully engaged with Chinese president Xi Jinping.
"This has paved the way for the exponential growth of China's foreign direct investment into Malaysia, as compared to other Asean neighbours," he said.
Also present were International Trade and Industry Minister I Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, Minister II Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan and China's ambassador to Malaysia Bai Tian.