COMMENT | By Wee Ka Siong's definition, Malaysia has just experienced a diplomatic meltdown in the heart of China in Beijing.
Wee is, of course, the lone MCA member of parliament for Ayer Hitam in Johor. But how did Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad fail?
First of all, Mahathir did not manage to reduce the price of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) nor was he able to renegotiate the terms of two pipeline projects. Rather, Mahathir has had to cancel all three, Wee argued. That means failure.
But then Wee was quick to add that his definition of a failure was gleaned from media reports; though one should add that Wee did not say if he was referring to international or vernacular news accounts.
The quick attribution to news media, invariably, as the source of their interpretation of what constitutes a success or failure, is a standard operating routine that lame politicians like to use.
If Mahathir's trip turns out to be a success in future – which it will – Wee can always blame the messenger, which is the media that carried the news; not his over-the-top and, ironically, weak analysis, if one can even call it such, since he was indeed peddling sheer pulp.
Secondly, to make matters worse once again, according to Wee – Mahathir crossed the line of diplomatic propriety by cancelling these three projects while still in China.
In other words, Wee was implying that a democratically elected leader from Malaysia should be deferential to China first. If any questionable projects should be abolished or stopped, such announcements should be made after Mahathir is well and safe in Malaysia.
One wonders if Wee understood at all the freedom of expression? Such a freedom accords the person the right to express his or her view responsibly, whether in or out of China. On every score, Wee was further unclear about the context of the trip itself.
To begin with, the trip was a culmination of the people's will on May 9, when BN was thoroughly defeated at the ballot box. Mahathir was not in China to protect the “face” or pet projects of anyone in Malaysia, period.
If a project is “stupid,” Mahathir would merely call a spade a spade, given his trademark bluntness. This is what makes Malaysia able to stand proud, unless Wee is a subscriber to the belief that you can never tell the truth to the powers-that-be.
Secondly, the Council of Eminent Persons and the cabinet had on various occasions spoken of the questionable nature of all three projects; whether in the form of their sustainability or financial integrity. Cancelling them does not constitute a breach of the One Belt, One Road initiative.
If anything, there is zero correlation with Obor unless the association with it is forced and imposed as a label anyway...