Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad today rebutted accusations that he was anti-Chinese for criticising China's purchase of land in Malaysia.
"I categorically welcome foreign direct investment (FDI) from China as I welcome FDIs from any country. What I object to is the kind of FDI from China.
"It is not about investing in manufacturing industries in Malaysia. It is about acquiring land in Malaysia, building settlements, towns and cities, which are to be sold to mainland Chinese who will come and live here.
"It is this massive immigration that we object to. If the project is by Indians and a few million Indians are to come and live in Malaysia, we would also strongly object," he said in a blog posting today.
Likewise, Mahathir said he would object to mass immigration to Malaysia even if they were Russians, Eastern Europeans, Africans or Arabs.
Mahathir pointed out that the Europeans too were trying to control the influx of refugees to the continent even though their numbers are relatively small, compared with the European population.
" (US President Donald) Trump wants to build a wall to prevent Mexicans and other South Americans from migrating into the US.
"They have police patrols and guard dogs to keep out these foreigners. That’s how much nations are against mass immigration into their countries," he said.
Mahathir has repeatedly criticised the China-led Forest City development in Johor, criticism that earned the ire of the state's monarch.
"No one can deny that the development of cities like the Forest City is to accommodate mainly mainland Chinese.
"They have already bought the properties and are coming by the planeloads to inspect and buy the properties offered.
"Najib’s boast of attracting more than RM140 billion of FDI from China is all about selling prime Malaysian land for the China Chinese to settle in.
"If he had gone to India or Africa or Europe and sold Malaysian land for millions of foreigners to settle on, I would still not consider that as FDI. And I think Malaysians would also feel the same about it," he said.
Dr M: I'm pro-Malaysian
As such, Mahathir said it was not about being anti-foreigners or anti-Chinese but it was about being "pro-Malaysian".
Mahathir said the entry of powerful China companies would also hurt Malaysian businesses, including those owned by Chinese Malaysians.
"We have seen the speed and efficiency of the China Chinese builders. They bring in their own workers from China.
"They can build a five-star hotel, complete with interior decoration and landscaping, in eight months. And they are operating them themselves in the areas they have developed in Johor," he said.
This, said Mahathir, was something the Malaysian business community needed to ponder on.
"They need to think about this and stop talking about being anti-Chinese. I and my friends in the new party (Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia) are not anti-Chinese.
"We are working with a predominantly Chinese party. Trying to make the Malaysian Chinese reject us is actually trying to support the kleptocratic Najib government," Mahathir said, in an apparent reference to DAP.