RM21 MILLION ‘HOLIDAY’ FOR MAHATHIR? INSTEAD OF WASTING MONEY ON TRIPS FOR SEALING DEALS & ASSET SALES THE PEOPLE DON’T APPRECIATE OR CALLING JEWS ‘HOOK NOSE’ – ALL MAHATHIR HAS TO DO IS SPEAK WITH SAME INTELLECT AS HSIEN LOONG TO GAIN RESPECT

SINGAPORE – Most countries in Asia would be very unhappy if they had to choose between America and China, and such a choice would be painful, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (pic) said in an interview with US broadcaster CNN.

In the interview which aired on Sunday, he noted that the United States’ treaty allies in the region – Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand and Thailand – all had China as their biggest trading partner.

Asking them to choose would put them in a spot, he added.

“If you ask them to choose and say, ‘I therefore must cut off my links with my biggest trading partner’, I think you will put them in a very difficult position,” he said.

“Singapore, we are not an ally, we are a close partner to the United States, but we also have our biggest trading links with China, bigger than the United States.”

Lee did the interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria for the presenter’s GPS programme during his visit to New York last month.

Lee also met US President Donald Trump during that visit.

Asked by Zakaria if he conveyed to Trump the fear that the United States was withdrawing from Asia and ceding the field to China, Lee said he did not think this was happening.

“America is engaging China very, very actively.

“It is not a happy engagement right now, but it is not pulling out from the field,” he said.“What we would like to see in Asia is the United States engaged actively not only with China, but also with the other Asian countries … and cooperatively and constructively to enable these countries to have economic links with China, and at

the same time have economic links and other links with the United States.”

He added: “If US-China relations are not stable and not amicable, it is much harder for all of us to do that. We will be pressured very hard to choose sides, and it will be a very painful choice.”

He also said the ongoing trade tensions had been a problem not just for Singapore, which has good relations with both the United States and China, but also for the world.

“All of us have depended on stable US-China relations, increasingly close US-China economic cooperation, investments, trade as well as flows of talent and ideas,” Lee noted.

“The way things are going now, that benign trend is being disrupted and perhaps even turned around. That is bad for the world.” — ANN

RM21 million spent on PM’s 30 official visits abroad

The prime minister on an official visit to Russia last month. His 30 trips abroad since June 2018 have cost RM21 million, the Dewan Rakyat was told. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: The government spent almost RM21 million on 30 official visits abroad made by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad since June 2018, the Dewan Rakyat was told today.

The minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Liew Vui Keong, said the expenditure included the expenses for the government officers who accompanied the prime minister, as approved by the Cabinet.

“The detailed expenditure for the official visits abroad by the prime minister for the period from June 2018 to September 2019 totalled RM20,964,289.24,” he said in a written reply to a question from Dr Noraini Ahmad (BN-Parit Sulong). The written reply was posted on the official website of Parliament. FREE MALAYSIA TODAY

ANN / FREE MALAYSIA TODAY

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