Anwar says Malaysia not picking sides amidst US-China geopolitical tension

PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim says he will not get caught up in China-US geopolitical tensions and be pressured into picking a side.

In an interview with the South China Morning Post, Anwar said he would always place Malaysia's interests first.

ALSO READ: As China ties deepen, Malaysia’s Anwar Ibrahim says geopolitics is no zero-sum game

He said that he would continue doing business with China but stressed that he had no intention of antagonising the United States.

He added that he would also not be swayed by the unilateral action of one country against another.

"It is no longer neo-colonialism or colonial rule. We are an independent nation," he said.

The extended trade war between the two nations has upended global supply chains and makes it awkward for countries such as Malaysia to remain neutral.

China has been Malaysia's top trading partner for 15 years since 2023 and the United States is also Malaysia's top investment partner over the same period.

Anwar told the Post that it made sense for Malaysia to ramp up ties with China, a country "willing to accommodate and listen" to his nation's suggestions and concerns.

"They have been most receptive and they collaborate well, and they are frank and (make) no display of arrogance," Anwar said.

Anwar conceded that Malaysia had in the past been saddled with "lopsided" Chinese deals such as the East Coast Rail Link, which had to be renegotiated, as well as the Forest City project in Johor.

However, he moved the blame away from China and instead said it had more to do with "poor governance" by his predecessors.

Anwar also touched on territorial disputes over the South China Sea, saying this could be settled through bilateral engagements and discussions within Asean, rather than third-party intervention, adding that Malaysia would push this point when it assumes the Asean chair next year.

On Taiwan, Anwar said Malaysia and the world recognised the one-China policy and that tensions between Beijing and Taiwan were a domestic matter that must be resolved peacefully and amicably between the two sides.

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Anwar Ibrahim , China , United States , Malaysia


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