Malaysian Prime Minister Says Countries Shouldn’t Pressure Malaysia Over China Ties

Prime Minister of Malaysia Anwar Ibrahim held a speech on Monday defending his stance regarding positive relations with China over apparent pressure from the United States to take sides in the ongoing rivalry between Beijing and Washington.

Ibrahim is currently attending the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Melbourne, where he made these remarks.

He added, “Right now, China seems to be the leading investor in Malaysia,” and how Malaysians “do not have a problem with China.” Ibrahim also said, “We are an independent nation, we are fiercely independent, we do not want to be dictated by any force.”

Further remarks by Ibrahim touched on the current relationship between the West and Malaysia, saying Malaysia remains an “important friend” to the United States, Europe, and Australia; however, they shouldn’t “preclude us from being friendly to one of our important neighbors, precisely China.” Lastly, he stressed that if the West has an issue with China, it should not be “imposed on us.”

During ASEAN, Malaysia and Australia have announced many agreements regarding fields such as clean energy, technology, sports, security, and education.