China-Malaysia Relations Back on Track?
Fook, Lye Liang | May 2019
China-Malaysia relations appear to be on the mend with the resumption of key projects like the East Coast Railway Line (ECRL) and Bandar Malaysia. After the Pakatan Harapan coalition swept into power in May last year, there were serious doubts on the status of China’s megaprojects in Malaysia. And even after Mahathir Mohamad’s first visit to China in August 2018 as prime minister, the fate of these projects still hung in the balance. Yet, in the run-up to and during Mahathir’s second visit to China in April 2019, such doubts were erased as China and Malaysia agreed to restart the ECRL and Bandar Malaysia. Malaysia also stands out for its endorsement of Huawei even as the United States seeks to thwart Huawei’s global expansion. In turn, China appears ready to support Mahathir’s domestic socio-economic development agenda of building infrastructure, providing jobs, upgrading its industries and improving the lives of its people. Chinese companies like Huawei and SenseTime appear poised to expand their footprint in Malaysia. On its part, the Mahathir administration, faced with increasing domestic pressure to deliver on bread and butter issues that matter to its electorate, is increasingly looking to China to help it meet this objective.
CitationFook, Lye Liang. 2019. China-Malaysia Relations Back on Track?. © ISEAS Yusof Ishak Institute. http://hdl.handle.net/11540/10256.
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