For the entire three months of May, June and July, Chinese coast guard vessels met with no resistance or protest from Muhyiddin’s government as Beting Patinggi Ali (Luconia Shoals) was consistently breached.
In response to the National Audit Department’s report revealing that Chinese ships had encroached into Malaysian waters 89 times between 2016 and 2019, Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein proudly claimed that in the100 days since he took over the ministry, the Chinese vessels have not dared breach the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) anymore. Bravo!
But there’s one huge problem – he lied through his teeth. Like his cousin, former Prime Minister Najib Razak, who has repeatedly lied with regards to his 1MDB scandal that he practically lost track of his past lies, Hishammuddin appears to be a good serial liar too. And it was not the Opposition who had exposed his lies, but a former colleague – former Foreign Minister Anifah Aman.
To take a former foreign minister to condemn the current foreign minister – both served the same corrupt Barisan Nasional regime – is certainly refreshing. Hishammuddin’s arrogant, but false remarks on July 15 that there has been no further intrusion in the South China Sea must have been too insulting that Anifah said Hishammuddin was either “in denial or ignorant of the facts”.
Anifah said – “I am appalled by the minister’s statement. He is either in denial or ignorant of the fact. Worst, he is playing politics with Malaysia’s maritime and strategic interests. It was only in April that a flotilla of Chinese enforcement vessels was sighted accompanying a Chinese survey vessel within Malaysia maritime areas.”
“Further, I was reliably informed that Chinese coast guard vessels were sighted in the vicinity of Beting Patinggi Ali in May, June and July. As a country that legitimately owns maritime areas in the South China Sea, the Government should not be hesitant to categorically state its objection to any unauthorised activities by foreign vessels within its maritime areas,” – exposed Anifah.
Obviously, Anifah was not impressed when Hishammuddin issued the remarks which was not only self-praising but blamed the previous ministers – including Anifah – for the Chinese intrusions. Anifah was the Foreign Minister from 2009 until 2018 when the Barisan Nasional government was defeated in the 2018 General Election after having ruled for 61 years since independence in 1957.
Hishammuddin tried to twist and spin his earlier statement after Anifah’s backlash, claiming that he was merely referring to West Capella activities where a Chinese survey vessel, the accompanying Chinese Coast Guard and fishing militia were present in the Malaysia EEZ from April to May. But that was precisely what Anifah was referring to, was he not?
When Petronas, Malaysian national oil and gas company, contracted the drillship West Capella in mid-April to explore an area of overlapping Malaysian and Vietnamese maritime claims, China responded by dispatching the survey vessel Haiyang Dizhi 8 along with a flotilla of coast guard and paramilitary vessels. Apparently, the area also falls within China’s nine-dash line.
Similarly, the US responded by sending its warships to the area to send a message to China. The US 7th Fleet sent the littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords, two US Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers, USS Montgomery and USNS Cesar Chavez as well as B-52 and B-2 bombers to the area. Heck, even US Submarine Forces Pacific sent some submarines there.
In fact, USS America (LHA-6), USS Bunker Hill (CG-52) and USS Barry (DDG-52) sailed with the Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Parramatta (FFH-154) to the same part of the South China Sea in late April. For several weeks, West Capella was tailed by the Chinese research vessel Haiyang Dizhi 8, armed Chinese coast guard and China Maritime Militia vessels.
Therefore, the stand-off was a big deal. The West Capella went back to port in the Bay of Brunei on May 12, eight days before its contract was set to expire. The Chinese fleet only left three days later on May 15 – suggesting that China had easily bullied and intimidated Malaysia, despite the fact that it was the Chinese who had breached Malaysia’s exclusive economic zone in the first place.
Clearly, the backdoor government of Muhyiddin Yassin was responsible of the country’s sovereignty when China’s vessels intrusion started in mid-April. So, what type of bull and cock stories Hishammuddin was cooking when he said there had been “zero intrusion” in his 100 days as the Foreign Minister? The West Capella episode alone showed Hishammuddin was telling lies.
As revealed by Anifah, for the entire three months of May, June and July, Chinese coast guard vessels met with no resistance or protest from the weak and lame duck government of Muhyiddin as Beting Patinggi Ali (Luconia Shoals) was consistently breached. The shoals lie around 100 kilometres off the Sarawak coast of Borneo, well within the 370-km exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of Malaysia.
Unless Hishammuddin has problems counting from 1 to 100, regardless whether it was West Capella or Beting Patinggi Ali, the fact remains that the sovereignty of Malaysia has been challenged by China – every single month (April to July).Hence, the correct statement is: there have been repetitive encroachments in the 100 days since Hishammuddin took over the Foreign Ministry.
Anifah’s statement also said – “If the Ministry of Foreign Affairs finds it appropriate to issue statement on 25 June and 12 July on the drone and missile attacks towards the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, surely it would not be too much to expect the Ministry to at least summon the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to register Malaysia’s displeasure on the unauthorised activities by the Chinese coast guard vessels within Malaysia’s maritime areas in the South China Sea.”
Yes, Hishammuddin has a bad habit of claiming credits at the wrong place and in the dumbest manner. This is not the first time he bootlicked the Saudi unnecessarily. The previous Pakatan Harapan government had exposed how then-Defence Minister Hishammuddin deployed – secretly – Malaysian troops overseas without the Parliament approval.
Together with cousin Najib, it was revealed that since June 11, 2015, about 27 officers and 62 rank-and-file troops were deployed to Saudi for “Ops Yemen 2” – without approval from the Cabinet. The Ops Yemen 2 was not to evacuate Malaysians from the conflict zone, as falsely claimed, but instead to assist the Saudi Arabia-led military coalition in the Yemen War.
Hishammuddin had literally lied when he said the Malaysian soldiers were not involved in the Yemeni Civil War at all. To make matters worse, not only the Ops Yemen 2 had cost RM14.6 million of taxpayers’ money, the secretive operation also involved 12 missions to bring in explosives, spare parts, bullets and other equipment that belonged to the Arab Alliance.
It’s also safe to presume that the “Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King)”, who is the Supreme Commander of the Malaysian Armed Forces, was not consulted at all with regards to the Middle East operations. It was indeed a betrayal – even an act of treason – if the Commander-in-Chief was kept in the dark since the King is the highest-ranking officer in the military chain of command.
In 2017, Hishammuddin recklessly and foolishly announced the country’s readiness to challenge the “impenetrable” Israel. In retaliation to the US government’s recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, the Malaysian defence minister said the Malaysian Armed Forces were prepared to be sent to the Middle East, presumably for a war in the Middle East.
Who is Malaysia when even Turkey, NATO’s second-largest military force, has been extremely cautious about rubbing Israel the wrong way. Short of telling President Trump that his declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is a “red line”, even Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan dared not commit his military manpower – numbering 410,000 and the world’s 14th most powerful – to fight the Jews.
Anifah was basically insulting Hishammuddin’s intelligence, competency and leadership. Amusingly, Hishammuddin finds it worthwhile interfering in the internal affairs of the Middle East, but when his own country is being threatened, the man who violently brandished a “Keris (Malay dagger)” and threatened to use it against the local Chinese became too chicken to summon the Ambassador of China.
The best part was the extraordinary silence from the leaders of UMNO Malay nationalist party and PAS Islamic party. Despite screaming, whining and bitching for 22 months about Muslims and Malay Rulers losing power to the “Chinese, Christians and Communists”, they are as quiet as a church mouse even after the news of Chinese communist government’s intrusion.
Again, the so-called “Malay-Muslim” Perikatan Nasional government has proven that they were merely village champions – only brave enough to bully and intimidate minority ethnic-Chinese in the country. When facing China, they would hide in a corner with tail between legs, even if the national security or sovereignty is under threat.
Malaysia’s quiet diplomacy and low-key response have raised the eyebrows of the United States. Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines all have at least raised some sort of displeasures against bully China. Perhaps the US should realise that the corrupt government of Malaysia is indebted to China. Besides Bandar Malaysia and ECRL, Muhyiddin government may need Beijing’s help to inflate future projects. – Finance Twitter