‘What’s there to spy in Malaysia?’ Mahathir asks, adding the country will use Huawei’s tech ‘as much as possible’

Mahathir also emphasised that no one country can dominate science and technology all the time.
Screengrab from YouTube/ Nikkei Asian Review

Is Huawei spying on Malaysia? Maybe, but there may be nothing new to see, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said at a forum in Tokyo on Thursday (May 30) morning.

Speaking at the Future of Asia conference held by Nikkei, the PM was answering a question on Malaysia’s investigations into accusations that the Chinese tech giant was carrying out cyber-spying activities.

“We are too small to have an effect on a huge company like Huawei whose research is far bigger than the whole of Malaysia’s research capability,” the 93-year-old said.

“So we try to make use of their technology as much as possible. Yes, there may be some spying, but what is there to spy in Malaysia? We are an open book.

“Everybody knows. If any country wants to invade Malaysia, they can walk through and we will not resist because it’s a waste of time,” he said.

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In the session, which was recorded and published on YouTube, Mahathir also emphasised that no one country can dominate science and technology all the time.

“We have to accept that the US cannot forever be the supreme nation in the world that can have the best technology. Today, the best technology that is found in the US is actually due to research by a lot of Asians who have migrated there. These same Asians in their own countries, can do the same,” he said.

He also added that “Huawei has got tremendous advance over American technology”.

“So sometimes, there is competition…if sometimes the East wins, that’s okay. But going to war is not the solution,” he said.

Negotiation key to navigating issues with China

The Malaysian leader, who gave the keynote speech for the conference, had urged for other nations’ issues with China to be solved through negotiation and not force.

“Each and everyone of us has to make sacrifices,” he said, emphasising compromise over insisting one’s way.

For a new world order, countries must take their discussions to their table and be willing to give up something for a win-win situation, he said.

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“A win-win situation does not mean that we get everything that we asked for. It means that we have to sacrifice something so that the other party will also be willing to make sacrifices.”

Reiterating Malaysia’s stance that there should be no warships stationed in the South China Sea, Mahathir said: “If they’re going to pass through, they are welcome to do so. But to have a fleet here, a very aggressive fleet here, is not something that is going to stabilise the area.”

“So I think that our mindsets must be changed. We consider ourselves civilised people, but we solve problems by killing each other and by destroying whole countries,” he added.

Moots common East Asia currency based on gold

The second-time PM also mooted the idea of having a common currency in East Asia based on gold.

This currency would be used for trade and not local transactions he said.

“At the moment, we have to depend on the US dollar, but the US dollar is also not stable. So the currency that we propose should be based on gold, because gold is much more stable.” he explained.

He added that being tied to the US dollar makes currencies vulnerable to Forex manipulation.

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When asked if he had brought up the idea in response to the addition of Malaysia to the US watchlist on currency manipulation and practices, Mahthir said a firm “no”.

“That is the problem. If any country is to be downgraded or upgraded, it should be done by some international uncommitted forum – not by any country.

“That is not for any single power to decide,” he said.

You can watch his full speech here: