No big power should dictate Malaysia’s future: PM Anwar

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said on Friday (Mar 31) that the Southeast Asian nation will not allow any big power to dictate its decisions and future direction. 

“Nobody should dictate us. As a free and independent nation, we will decide what is best for us,” Mr Anwar was quoted as saying by Bernama on the third day of his official visit to China.

“And we decide based on core values and principles, which are to make sure that we have good governance and policies that will benefit the country and the people.”

He added: “We should also maintain this position in ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) because ASEAN was set up as a free and neutral zone.” 

Mr Anwar was responding to a question on the rivalry between China and the United States during a public lecture at the renowned Tsinghua University in Beijing, following his attendance at the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) in Hainan. 

Inaugurated in 2001, BFA aims to promote common development through regional economic integration.

On Malaysia’s relationship with China, Mr Anwar reportedly said that Malaysia does not see China as a competitor nor a threat, even if some disagreements exist between the two countries. 

“Since there is no outright threat from China, we are happy to be a good neighbour, a friend and to benefit from their success,” he said. 

He added that Malaysia wants to build excellent relationships with all countries, including China and the US. 

Malaysia – along with several ASEAN member states like Brunei, the Philippines and Vietnam – is a claimant state in the South China Sea together with China. Other countries like the US and its allies have also challenged China’s territorial claims. 

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