Stop picking fights with countries and causing diplomatic disasters, Dr M told
Published:  Dec 22, 2019 12:04 PM
Updated: 12:04 PM

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mahathir should stop offending major international powers, particularly at a time of economic uncertainty, said MCA president Wee Ka Siong.

He said while the Langkawi MP may be an experienced politician who was a key voice of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) during his first tenure as prime minister, his combative attitude has often caused slight to major powers and this has not changed after he returned as prime minister.

Wee pointed out that during the recently concluded Kuala Lumpur Summit 2019, Mahathir had managed to offend both Saudi Arabia and India while at the same time also made unflattering comments that could offend the US.

"The world today is very different from 20 years ago. If Mahathir continues to speak as he likes, he will only offend many other big countries and it will surely impact on our country," he said.

Wee pointed out that Mahathir had during the KL Summit questioned India's new citizenship laws which critics said were discriminatory against Muslims, causing Malaysia's envoy to be summoned by New Delhi to express its protest.

This was after Mahathir's earlier comment in September at the United Nations General Assembly on Kashmir upsetting India with threats from the private sector to boycott Malaysian palm oil.

Wee (photo) added that there was no end to the diplomatic disaster as Saudi Arabia became upset that Malaysia invited its rivals Iran and Qatar to the KL Summit.

Saudi Arabia had accused the summit of being an attempt to create a rival Muslim platform, which prompted Mahathir to defend the gathering. 

During the summit, Mahathir, in trying to highlight the imbalance of power in trade, had also said he wanted to impose sanctions on the US but wouldn't be able to do so as a small nation, and that the US can easily do so against Malaysia.

"Such statements are clearly not in favour of US President Donald Trump and will surely court a reaction and I am sure that the US is watching Mahathir.

"Thankfully, Mahathir did not touch on the Uyghur issue in China which could have caused continued conflict with China," Wee said.

He claimed that Mahathir had previously caused unease in Beijing when he pointedly warned about "new version of colonialism" during a press conference with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (photo) in China while on a visit to renegotiate projects with the Middle Kingdom in August last year.

Likewise, Wee said Mahathir has caused friction with Singapore when he continually raised the water issue with the republic and crooked bridge project, which became a topic of discussion in the Singapore Parliament last month.

"The respectful prime minister, the global economic uncertainty will surely affect Malaysia's economy.

"Our government should avoid any conflict with major countries and instead focus on developing the economy.

"Considering the current international situation, we can only create business opportunities for our country by maintaining warm diplomatic ties with other countries," he said.

Wee reminded Mahathir that when Malaysia hosted the NAM conference in 2003, he had promised not to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries. 

"I hope he will maintain this principle," he said.

Wee said Mahathir should not do to other countries what we do not want them to do to Malaysia.

"We, too, do not want other countries to interfere in our internal affairs. If Mahathir continues to offend more countries, the young generation will pay the price for his actions," he said.

View Comments