BEIJING: Farmers in Peninsular Malaysia's east coast will benefit from the Belt and Road projects once they are completed, said Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek.
He said that the deepening of Kuantan Port will shorten the time for cargo shipments between Malaysia and China, while the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) scheduled for construction this year will bring the east and west coast of the peninsula closer.
"Take Tok Bali in Kelantan for instance. With the ECRL, it will be cheaper and easier for seafood from this fishing port to be transported to the Klang Valley," he said.
He added that the export of Malaysia's agricultural products to China would be boosted by the deepening of Kuantan Port.
"When we export more, it means more money for farmers. When we have more income from foreign exchange, the ringgit will be strengthened and goods will be more affordable," he said.
Ahmad Shabery rejected the view that China has a hidden geopolitical agenda in pushing the Belt and Road initiative.
“When Admiral Cheng Ho came to Melaka, he didn’t use the opportunity to colonise us, unlike the Portuguese, Dutch and British.
He brought friendship. In world history, China never used the Silk Road for geopolitical purposes. Malaysia should see it positively,” he said.