KUANTAN: In a gesture of good faith, Alliance Steel (M) Sdn Bhd organised a National Day celebration for staff at its factory compound on Friday (Aug 31).
Malaysian and Chinese workers of the steel mill in the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park (MCKIP) were treated to food and entertainment with cultural performance and dance shows.
Alliance Steel said in a press release that the event was an expression of the company's commitment and recognition of local Malaysian culture and sovereignty as an independent nation.
"In conjunction with the National Day of Malaysia and as a gesture of respect to all Malaysians, Alliance organised this event for all local workers to mix and interact with our counterpart Chinese workers to create a harmonious working environment and culture in Malaysia and at the same time to express its effort in achieving localisation," said the statement.
Alliance Steel's deputy project commander Steve Hu said in his speech that he hoped closer ties could be fostered with Malaysians and in the process, close the gap of difference and misunderstanding.
Hu said the steel mill is expected to produce 3.5 million tonnes of steel products per year, which could bring in more than USD1.5bil (RM6.2bil) annually in foreign exchange earnings.
He said this was in line with the company's tagline "In Malaysia, For Malaysia".
The company currently employs approximately 3,500 workers, of which 2,500 are local Malaysian workers, according to the press release.
Alliance Steel recently got caught in controversy when Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said in an interview with a news portal that he wished to see the wall at MCKIP come down literally and figuratively.
"An industrial park is not a foreign country. It should be under the laws of Malaysia. Cutting out the entry of local officials is not the right thing to do so we need to take down walls and all that because these are wrong in our country," Dr Mahathir said in the interview with Malaysiakini.
However, the actual wall in question only surrounded the perimeter of the steel mill's 291ha compound and not the entire MCKIP as alleged.
PKR's Teruntum assemblyman Sim Chon Siang expressed disagreement with Dr Mahathir's statement, saying that the so-called "Great Wall" was more like an industrial fence.
Sim, who was the guest of honour at the event, said Government representatives should have awareness before issuing such statements as it could seriously affect investors' confidence.
"I hope the Government can have a sit-down with MCKIP representatives to discuss these issues in an amicable manner. I believe things will get better," he said.
Sim also urged Alliance Steel to intensify efforts at communicating with the Government.