Malaysia may renegotiate some deals with China: Mahathir

Reuters, Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia may renegotiate some deals with China, former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad said today, just hours after his coalition secured a stunning election winagainst the government of Najib Razak.

Mahathir said that his government would likely reverse some policies implemented by the long-ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, including a highly unpopular goods and services tax.

The 92-year-old told a news conference he supported China’s Belt and Road initiative (BRI) but said Malaysia reserved the right to renegotiate terms of some agreements with Beijing, if necessary.

“We have no problem with that (BRI), except of course we would not like to see too many warships in this area because (a) warship attracts other warships,” he said.

A Nomura report last month showed that Malaysia is one of the largest beneficiaries of Chinese investment commitments in Asia, securing $34.2 billion of BRI-related infrastructure projects, which have prompted critics to accuse Najib of “selling” Malaysia to the Asian powerhouse.