M’sia needs to to wisely balance relations with major powers — geostrategist

KUALA LUMPUR, March 26: Malaysia must deal with major world powers wisely to achieve healthy economic growth based on pragmatic policies while facing global geopolitical challenges, said a geostrategist.

Geostrategist and Senior Fellow at the Nusantara Academy of Strategic Research (NASR), Prof Dr Azmi Hassan emphasised that Malaysia’s policy of neutrality is crucial to avoid appearing too inclined towards any particular country, especially the United States or China.

“… or in other words, we’re playing in two ponds but not leaning heavily towards one side. Whatever foreign policy decisions we make with China are aimed at benefitting us,” he said when appearing as a guest on Bernama TV’s Ruang Bicara programme titled “50 Years of Malaysia-China Strategic Relations”.

He stressed that Malaysia needs to ensure a policy of neutrality while simultaneously making a positive impact on the country’s geopolitical environment, including in the Asia-Pacific and Indo-Pacific regions.

Furthermore, he said Malaysia should maintain good bilateral relations with China as it is the country’s largest and most important trading partner for the nation’s interests.

He also expressed confidence in Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s leadership, saying that Anwar possesses the charisma to express views abroad and continue the long-standing Malaysia-China relationship.

He noted that the 50-year relationship between Malaysia and China began with efforts made by the second Prime Minister, the late Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, who took a bold and wise step that ultimately strengthened Beijing-Kuala Lumpur relations.

The 50-year-old relationship was initiated on May 31, 1974, and later upgraded to a comprehensive strategic partnership by former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, he added.