While most of us are caught up with a flurry of news ahead of the general election, we should not forget what lurks in the background: the extending tentacles of China spreading across Asia through its US$4-8 trillion One Belt, One Road initiative.
The initiative comprises:
- an overland Economic Belt (railways, gas pipelines, etc). Think of the ECRL, which is part of a larger South East Asian rail network.
- a Maritime Silk Road (via a chain of sea ports). Think of Kuantan and Malacca ports.
What does it mean to us? Are investments of China the sort we need at the moment? In what way exactly will it benefit Malaysia if we are left with huge debts owing to China banks? How much technology transfer will there be if most of the workers are going to come from China? And now, we hear the ECRL will be exempted from GST, for whatever reason.
What about the strategic concerns over the South China Sea and the Straits of Malacca?
I thought the above video was revealing in that it shows us where Malaysia fits in, in the larger scheme of China’s strategic network across the region. Something to bear in mind in the heat of the election campaign.
Is this what we want to be a part of? And what are the implications for our sovereignty as an independent nation?