Najib usually avoids confronting Beijing because of tight Chinese-Malaysian economic relations. Malaysia counts China, the world’s second largest economy, as its top trading partner and biggest source of direct foreign investment.

“For Malaysia, which has sought to maintain friendly relations with China, publicly condemning Chinese actions would disrupt that delicate balance and could have serious economic and other repercussions,” said Jonathan Spangler, director of the South China Sea Think Tank in Taipei.

But China is careful to avoid sparking strong protests as it locks in its maritime claims, analysts say. A dispute over Scarborough Shoal near the Philippines in 2012 prompted Manila to file for world court arbitration. An arbitration tribunal ruled in favor of the Philippines in July, a decision Beijing called a “farce.”

“For China, it has demonstrated that it is willing and able to increasingly securitize its claimed territories, but overdoing it could eventually provide rival claimants the impetus for mustering a united regional response,” Spangler said.
China has offered economic incentives elsewhere in Southeast Asia in exchange for tolerance of its maritime expansion. Countries such as Malaysia’s neighbor Brunei, and more recently the Philippines, have obliged.

https://www.voanews.com/a/discovery-of-more-chinese-ships-adds-pressure-on-normally-passive-malaysia/3812961.html

 

From VOA Learning English:

Razak usually avoids direct conflict with China. The country is Malaysia’s top trading partner and its biggest source of direct foreign investment.

Jonathan Spangler is director of the South China Sea Think Tank in Taipei. He says, “For Malaysia, which has sought to maintain friendly relations with China, publicly condemning Chinese actions would disrupt that delicate balance and could have serious economic and other repercussions.”

https://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/discovery-of-more-chinese-ships-adds-pressure-on-malaysia-to-respond/3814138.html

 

From Korea News Gazette:

Discovery of More Chinese Ships Adds Pressure on Normally Passive Malaysia