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Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Dr Jomo: Malaysia must be more active in strengthening ties with China

PETALING JAYA - Malaysia should be both active and proactive in strengthening bilateral ties with China as there are advantages that it can leverage on, especially under the Belt and Road Initiative, said Khazanah Research Institute senior adviser Dr Jomo Kwame Sundaram.

The close relations established between the two countries must, however, be based on equal partnership and not skewed in favour of just one party, he said.

"We do not want the relations to be like with other large countries where we appear to be just a political pawn. (An example) where we benefit through a Chinese company's investment in Malaysia is the strategic partnership between Geely and Proton,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the Malaysia-China Outlook Forum 2019 here today.

Jomo said Geely's participation as a strategic foreign partner offered huge prospects for Malaysia, especially in the right-hand drive (RHD) car market in Southeast Asia, following Proton's status as the RHD production hub. Previously, all Geely vehicles were left-hand drive.

"If we succeed in this strategy, we can be like (auto maker) Thai Rung in Thailand. Ultimately, we need somebody, possibly the prime minister, to advise Proton on how better to negotiate (because) right now, it is not government-owned,” he said.

In 2017, DRB-Hicom Bhd sold 49.9 per cent equity interest in Proton as well as a 51 per cent stake in luxury sports car brand Lotus to Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co Ltd. DRB-Hicom has remained Proton's majority shareholder. - Bernama

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