KOTA BARU: Malaysia's trade and investment with China, including the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project, can only benefit both sides, says Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed (pic).
The International Trade and Industry Minister dismissed allegations from his predecessor Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz who said that trading with the second largest economy in the world will jeopardise the country's sovereignty.
"It is not fair for Malaysia to be denied trade with a fast-growing country. If our relationship with them is tense, it will negatively impact our economy," he said during a meeting with the Tumpat Umno election machinery on Wednesday (May 3).
He was asked to respond to Rafidah's allegations, posted on her Facebook page, that foreign investors' confidence towards Malaysia continues to dip, except for companies from China which has other agenda in mind.
Mustapa explained that the Government had conducted various studies on such mega projects and found that the benefits outweighed the costs.
"It is the same with all projects – including with China – and the government will make ensure it is beneficial.
"We believe that the ECRL project is more beneficial because it can stimulate the economy in the east coast, increase investments, boost infrastructure, improve tourism and connectivity as well as provide more job opportunities. This will only benefit the rakyat," he said.
He also hit out at Rafidah for politicising the issue, saying that Malaysia had trade links with China even under Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's administration.
"We have traded with China before, but the volume was not as high. We also had the "Look East" policy with Japan, and we had investments, teachers and tourists from that country. How come the issue about selling our country's sovereignty not arise then? " he questioned.
The ECRL project will stretching 688km from Port Klang in Selangor to Tumpat in Kelantan and is expected to be completed by June 2024.