China’s Ambassador to Malaysia Huang Huikang has warned that his visit to Petaling Street last Friday should not be made out to be an anti-Malaysian government issue.
Huang reiterated that his visit was to show goodwill to the local community, as well as to find out whether is there any security concern, before deciding whether to issue a travel advisory to tourists from China.
In an interview with local newspapers, he expressed regret that his goodwill visit was misunderstood and made use of by certain quarters with an agenda, Sin Chew Daily reported today.
"I totally support and respect the Malaysian government. Isn't the message clear enough?
"When you are talking about the context of this issue, there is no any person of clear mind who will say the China ambassador is interfering in domestic affairs."
However, he does not regret his visit to Petaling Street.
"The remarks I made during the visit to Petaling Street. Did I mention Malaysia? No. Did I mention Malaysian Chinese? Did I mention Petaling Street?
"This was a very normal speech. It is the China government's stand all this while. We have been saying and doing this for the past 66 years, and no one has objected.
"I asked Malaysian friends whether there was there anything wrong with the speech. Nobody told me that it's wrong."
Huang went on to express his hope that this matter would be put to rest as soon as possible, or otherwise it could affect the bilateral relationship between the two countries.
"If the goodwill is continuosly twisted, it may affect the relationship. Then, it's no more misunderstood, but done on purpose."
He explained that his visit to Petaling Street was because it is a favourite spot for tourists from China.
‘Even the US Embassy issued a travel advisory’
"I heard that it is not safe. Someone also said Jalan Alor may see a terrorist attack. A lot of people asked me, is Kuala Lumpur safe?"
"Even the United States Embassy issued a travel advisory to its citizens. It is a tourist spot, therefore I must judge for myself whether to issue an advisory."
While he didn't receive any summon letter from Wisma Putra, Huang described his meeting with Acting Foreign Minister Hamzah Zainuddin as “just a working meeting”.
After clarifying his visit to Petaling Street with Wisma Putra, Huang said, the Malaysian government wished to 'call' him in to know whether his remarks had been miscontrued or not.
"Call in" is a very common term in foreign affairs, the ambassador said, and explained that the misunderstanding could have arisen from conceptual English communication.
He said "call in" is not a issue, but it may create a big problem when a call to an ambassador is made through the media.
His meeting with Hamzah, Huang added, did not fall into the category of a "call in".