BEIJING Nov 2 Malaysian Prime Minister Najib
Razak said that former colonial powers should not lecture
countries they once exploited on their internal affairs, a
Chinese newspaper reported on Wednesday, in a veiled attack on
the West as he looks to strengthen ties with China.
Najib's visit to Beijing follows that of Philippine
President Rodrigo Duterte, who announced a "separation" from the
United States and signed a raft of memoranda of understanding
for Chinese investment in the country.
Najib, who is on a six-day visit to China, said in an
editorial in the state-run China Daily that larger countries
should treat smaller countries fairly.
"And this includes former colonial powers. It is not for
them to lecture countries they once exploited on how to conduct
their own internal affairs today," he wrote.
The Philippines is a former Spanish and U.S. colony, and
Malaysia a former British colony.
Najib is looking to strengthen ties with China after July
lawsuits filed by the U.S. Justice Department implicating him in
a money-laundering scandal. Najib has denied any wrongdoing and
said Malaysia will cooperate in the investigations.
More than $3.5 billion was allegedly misappropriated from
1MDB, according to civil lawsuits filed by the Justice
Department. The probe has strained ties between Malaysia and the
United States, with Najib dismissing it as foreign interference
in Malaysia's affairs.
The shift by the Philippines and Malaysia is being widely
seen as China's counter to U.S. influence in the region.
Najib also wrote that disputes in the South China Sea should
be resolved through dialogue in accordance with rule of law.
China claims most of the energy-rich waters through which
about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year.
Neighbours Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam
also have claims.
"When it comes to the South China Sea, we firmly believe
that overlapping territorial and maritime disputes should be
managed calmly and rationally through dialogue, in accordance
with the rule of law and peaceful negotiations," he said.
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said on Tuesday
that Malaysia had pledged with Beijing to handle South China Sea
Malaysia agreed to buy four Chinese naval vessels and signed
14 agreements totalling 143.64 billion ringgit ($34.25 billion),
Malaysian state news agency Bernama said, after a meeting
between Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Najib on Tuesday.
Najib also said Malaysia welcomed the China-backed Asian
Infrastructure Investment Bank which marks a turning point "of
peaceful dialogue, not foreign intervention, in sovereign
Global institutions needed to be inclusive of "countries
that were given no say in the legal and security infrastructure
that was set up by the victors of the Second World War", he
($1 = 4.2 ringgit)
(Reporting by Sue-Lin Wong; Writing by Praveen Menon; Editing
by Nick Macfie)