Malaysia wants to be friendly, not indebted, to China, says Mahathir

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad attends the International Conference on the Future of Asia in Tokyo Japan

Mahathir, in Tokyo on his first foreign trip since winning a shock election last month, sought to revive the idea of an East Asia economic group which he said would be useful in the face of China's surging economic power.

"We have to deal with China whether we like it or not".

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today said he plans to start another national vehicle, after Proton's takeover by a Chinese company past year, reported Free Malaysia Today.

Speaking at the Nikkei Conference in Tokyo on Monday, Dr Mahathir pointed out that he was already the oldest prime minister in the world.

"But, now that America seems to become isolationist again, it's not in the position to demand that we do not form EAEC".

The new Government aims to have a new national vehicle company now that Proton has been bought over by China's Geely.

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Speaking during a dialogue at the 24th Nikkei Conference on the Future of Asia said now that Proton was owned by Geely, it was no longer considered a national vehicle. "We will be friendly with China, but we do not want to be indebted to China".

At a separate dialogue with foreign correspondents at Japan's National Press Club, Dr Mahathir said in the 20-over years that Malaysia has worked with Mitsubishi Motor Corp, it has acquired most of the skills and technology with regards to the design and production of a new vehicle.

Malaysia had the skills and technology needed to design and produce the new auto, Mahathir said, but he added that some vehicle parts were very expensive and could be sourced from other countries, including Japan.

"Just imagine what would happen if Najib wins a court trial and he is found not guilty. then all the promises that we made, the bad things that we say about him will be questioned by the people who voted us in", he said during a dinner speech with Malaysians living in Japan.

"But of course, I don't know how long I myself will last", he said, adding that in two years' time he would be 95 years old.



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