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Malaysia to use Huawei’s technology as much as possible: Mahathir

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Mahathir says there 'may be spying' but Malaysia is an 'open book'

TOKYO : Malaysia will continue using Huawei products "as much as possible", bucking a global trend prompted by security concerns and a US ban on the Chinese company, the country's Prime Minister said yesterday.

Dr Mahathir Mohamad, speaking at a conference in Tokyo, acknowledged the security concerns but said they would not deter Malaysia.

"Yes, there may be some spying. But what is there to spy (on) exactly in Malaysia? We are an open book," he said at the Future of Asia forum.

He said Huawei had access to research "far bigger than the whole of Malaysia's research equivalent", reported AFP.

"So we try to make use of its technology as much as possible. Everybody knows, if any country wants to invade Malaysia, it can walk through, and we will not resist because it is a waste of time," he added.

His speech comes after a wave of controversy over the Chinese telecom company, which has been hit by allegations of espionage and faces a US ban.

A number of countries have blocked Huawei from working on their mobile networks and companies have stepped back from the firm after the US ban, citing legal requirements.

The spat comes as the US and China raise tariffs in tit-for-tat moves along with blistering rhetoric accusing each other of unfair trade practices.

Dr Mahathir warned about the heated exchanges between Beijing and Washington, which come as they and their allies lock horns in the hotly contested South China Sea, reported AFP.

Dr Mahathir said the US and "the West" must accept that Asian nations now produce competitive products and should not "threaten" business rivals.

"I understand Huawei has tremendous advance(s) over American technology even," he said.

"The US must compete with China. At times China will win, other times the US will win."

In another interview, Dr Mahathir said trade wars are stupid as they hurt the economic progress of countries, reported Bernama.

"We would not like to have the US-China trade war if more reasonable minds take over. But at the moment, we have to accept that there is a trade war and it affects us. We want China to be rich enough for it to be a great market for us and the rest of the world," he told reporters.

He said if China is prosperous, it will be better for the world as its 1.4 billion people would become a huge market.

"With China getting richer, the world can benefit from a rich market. And for the trade balance, we have the US and we would like to continue there.

"I believe that trade relationships should not be confrontational," he said.

He added that China is going to be a powerful country "whether America likes it or not".

"China can be a world by itself, it can trade within the country. That's how it grew in the first place," he said.

Dr Mahathir also said the US has its own strengths, reported Bernama.

"It should expect the Chinese to keep trying to catch up with it, but Americans are very innovative and inventive, they should be able to compete in (the) areas they have strengths," he said.