KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad voiced his fear that Malays and the Bumiputera would not be able to compete if Malaysia welcomes a flood of traders and entrepreneurs from China.
The prime minister said the traders and entrepreneurs differed from the Chinese who have been in Malaysia for generations, who were originally involved in small businesses and started out as labourers.
“Today, the children of our Chinese people have achieved success. Some have become millionaires, their businesses have grown while they also own skyscrapers.
“If we bring in another three million people from China, what will happen to us? They are strong, able, knowledgeable in business; they come not as labourers but as successful entrepreneurs.
“Can we compete with them?”
Dr Mahathir was speaking during a question-and-answer session at the Congress on Future of Bumiputera and the Nation 2018 at the KL Convention Centre on Saturday.
Dr Mahathir said the presence of numerous traders and entrepreneurs could also see the Bumiputera and Malays lose their place.
“I am certain that if we bring in three million more people from China, we will lose our place. The rich among them will buy our land. We will be moved further from the city until we have to live next to the jungle.
“This is what I am seeing. Singapore was once ours, and now we cannot dominate Singapore because our people cannot compete with the Chinese,” he said.
Meanwhile, Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali said the government will review the Forest City development in Johor as the terms of sale of its residences do not bring any benefits to Malaysia.
Azmin said the project, with a projected investment of US$100 billion (RM411 billion) could also open to floodgates to an influx of Chinese nationals.
“We have to understand that the government’s decision to review the Forest City project is because the project transaction was not done in Johor or anywhere in Malaysia.
“A special programme was initiated by the Chinese government which stated that if its people made invested a certain amount, they can obtain a residential unit in Forest City for free.
“This is why we cannot let such a thing happen because all the taxpayind and transactions were done in China.
“This brings no benefit whatsoever to us, especially our economic sector,” he said.
Mohamed Azmin said the other fear now is the Chinese government’s aim of bringing in 700,000 of its people here to reside in Forest City.
He said any investment from China should by right generate an economic spillover effect to the local industry, as opposed to having a ‘lopsided deal’ which would cause unease among the people.