It is safe to say that Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) chairperson Dr Mahathir Mohamad seems determined to get in the last word with regard to the Forest City development project in Johor.
In an event organised by the Titiwangsa and Seputeh divisions of Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) last night, Mahathir had reiterated that he was not against foreign direct investment, neither was he “anti-Chinese”.
But several decisions linked to China made by the Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak-led administration will ultimately lead to loss of sovereignty, Mahathir insisted.
Universiti Antarabangsa Malaysia (UIA) lecturer Maszlee Malik, who moderated the “hard talk” between Mahathir and Amanah leader Husam Musa, recalled that Mahathir had recently spoken against someone in relation to the development project.
“You recently commented against someone, who was not Najib, on people from China being brought over. Won’t this affect Bersatu in Johor?
“Do you understand what I’m talking about?” Maszlee asked to confirm, to which Mahathir replied: “Yes, I understand. Everyone understands,” eliciting laughter from the audience.
But Mahathir is vehemently of the opinion that such an occurrence (Chinese nationals buying properties here) was dangerous for the country.
“That even if it affects some support for Bersatu, we still have to voice this..
“If you look at the reaction to what I said, it is more in support of my view over ‘that person’,” he said, to applause.
Although he did not mention any names, this is an apparent reference to Johor ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar.
Mahathir had spoken out against the project, claiming that it may lead to foreign ownership of Malaysian land and an influx of property buyers from China, warning that it may lead to the loss of Malaysia’s sovereignty.
The sultan had reportedly hit out at the ex-premier, asking him to stop sabotaging the state’s economy and the China-bashing.
Mahathir however defended himself, saying that he was only quoting concerns raised in a report by Bloomberg and was prepared to face the consequences of speaking out.