TTF: Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his ‘trusted’ economic advisor, Daim Zainuddin, have succeeded in pissing China off beyond all measures of belief.
After having toyed with the Chinese government’s patience by threatening to cancel all Chinese-backed projects, they expected the northern republic to submit to their wishes, thinking that Chinese premier Li Keqiang was desperate to venture with Malaysia in deep sea drilling within the Western Edge of the South China Sea.
As a matter of fact, Mahathir even preceded his visit to China with a working visit to Japan and requested Japanese premier Shinzo Abe to extend Malaysia a ¥1 trillion loan.
He was under the impression that the move would jolt China into a state of dissatisfaction seeing that Malaysia valued the Japanese more than they did the Chinese.
Mahathir believed that China was desperate enough to secure the Malacca Straits and the South China Sea with military presence that its government would agree to any terms set by Daim when renegotiating the ECRL and gas pipeline projects.
But the move backfired.
Just as Daim was about to meet Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, the MACC conducted two raids on offices linked to a Chinese state-owned firm that the DAP’s Tony Pua informed Shukri was linked to 1MDB.
Wang has since triggered a ‘temporary’ ban on the signing of new deals with Malaysia and convinced Chinese premier Li Keqiang to cut down drastically on China’s purchase of Malaysian palm oil.
Japan, on the other hand, has refused Mahathir the ¥1 trillion loan and told him that the country wasn’t exactly in great financial shape.
Mahathir already knows that Malaysia’s relations with China has hit rock bottom, that no matter what he says or does, there is no way the Chinese government could inflict more torture on us.
That explains why he issued a warning to the People’s Republic “against further militarising the South China Sea” and threatened again to cancel all Chinese-backed mega-projects.
But China remains unfazed.
It’s government couldn’t give two hoots to what Mahathir says as it knows that the Malaysian premier is desperate.
A well placed source has informed TTF that the Chinese are seeking a return to the days of the Najib administration and has backed down from lending support to the South China Morning Post (SCMP), a Hong Kong based daily that’s fanatically supportive of the Mahathir administration.
SCMP was instrumental in waging vicious attacks against Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak prior to the 14th general election (GE14) and happens to be a onetime Robert Kuok concern.
It appears to us that relations between Kuok and Chinese premier Li Keqiang are already on the rocks, which probably explains why the Chinese government seems reluctant to purchase palm oil products imported from Malaysia by Kuok owned companies.
Perhaps that explains why China is doing the exact opposite of what the SCMP is doing.
It’s government has since undertaken to sponsor hackers and cyber troopers to target companies and media agencies linked to the Mahathir administration to destroy the credibility of the Malaysian premier.
KUALA LUMPUR: Chinese state-sponsored hackers may be targeting companies and state agencies in Malaysia as it looks to review several major projects linked to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, cybersecurity firm FireEye Inc. said on Wednesday.
Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who took power after an election win in May, will be in China on Friday seeking to renegotiate and possibly cancel billions of dollars worth of Chinese-invested projects authorised by his predecessor, Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), unveiled in 2013, aims to develop a network of land and sea links with Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa.
FireEye said it had found indications that cyber espionage activities were increasing throughout Southeast Asia, as China-based groups and others sought to gain information on BRI projects and deals.
Malaysia’s recent political changes and its reassessment of China-backed projects put it at heightened risk of such activity, FireEye’s head of global intelligence operations, Sandra Joyce, told a media briefing.
“Malaysia is looking more and more like a typical target of Chinese state-sponsored cyber activity,” she said.
“As Chinese investments continue to be scrutinized, that is going to be a motivator for groups … to gain more intelligence and information on the future of these projects.”
China’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment. China routinely denies accusations of involvement in hacking and says it is a main victim of it.
The Malaysian prime minister’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment, while a spokesman for the foreign ministry declined to comment.
Joyce said Malaysian targets could include any company or agency involved in a US$20-billion East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project.
The 688-km (428-mile) project, linking Malaysia’s west coast with ports in the east, has been suspended pending discussions over pricing and graft allegations.
Mahathir’s government also halted work on two projects worth more than US$2.3 billion awarded to the China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau.
Joyce said its observations on Malaysia were in keeping with developments in other countries with major BRI interests such as Belarus, which has been targeted by a Chinese group called Roaming Tiger.
FireEye said in July that a China-based group identified as TEMP.Periscope had interfered in a general election in Cambodia, breaching systems used by several Cambodian state agencies and political entities.
Source: NST Online