Malaysia’s history with Chinese immigrants lends credence to Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s concerns over Forest City’s push to draw foreign buyers, said former information minister Zainuddin Maidin.

In a post on his blog today, Zainuddin said Chinese immigrants had in the past bought a few shops in British Malaya before eventually forming numerous Chinese enclaves.

This led to the enactment of laws, by British administrators, on Malay reserve land to prevent Malays from selling all their land to foreigners.

After independence, the Razak-administration then came up with policies which drew Malays to large towns and cities in order for them to compete with the Chinese, said Zainuddin.

“(Then prime minister) Abdul Razak Hussein started the Urban Development Authority to build shops or places of trade for Malays.

“Mahathir, through Permodalan Nasional Bhd, then took back more than 200,000 acres of plantation land from the British during the ‘Dawn Raid’ in 1981,” Zainuddin (photo) wrote.

Without these policies by the British and former prime ministers, Zainuddin argued that it was likely that Malay land ownership today would have been diminished.

Bringing land to China

Zainuddin was responding to Tourism and Culture Minister Nazri Abdul Aziz’s claim that Mahathir was “gila (mad)” to believe continuously claim that Putrajaya’s currently seeks foreign direct investment by selling land.

Mahathir cited the Forest City project in Johor as one such example. Forest City, developed by Guandong-based Country Garden Holdings in collaboration with the Johor royal family, is primarily aimed at foreign buyers, particularly from China.

Citing a Bloomberg report which claimed that Forest City would accommodate 700,000 new homes, Mahathir warned that a flood of foreigners would potentially alter the demographics of Johor and likened it to how the state sold land to the British which eventually became Singapore.

Nazri told reporters yesterday that Mahathir was “mad” because even if Forest City was to be sold to foreigners, they are unable to bring the land back to their respective countries.
Against Malaysia’s historical backdrop, Zainuddin said Mahathir was not “mad” for making such claims.

“Perhaps, in order to fulfil the liberal and globalist goals of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and Nazri, we should abolish Malay reserve land.

“This is because, according to Umno lawyers (such as Nazri) who is not mad or not tiga suku (half-baked) such as Nazri, the land can’t be brought back to China.

“(The fact is,) Malaysia can become China without Chinese citizens bring our land to China,” wrote Zainuddin.

– M’kini