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Ruling coalition, Barisan Nasional, decided to send a bunch (some 78 of them, plus or minus, in fact) for a lawatan sambil belajar to Taiwan. Sure, they’re interested in how Taiwan deals with agriculture, but interestingly they picked Taiwan because China has stringent visa rules. Essentially to prevent them from defecting come 16 September (five more days!).

China regularly gets pissed at any form of political link with renegade province Taiwan, so it would be interesting how that pans out. Especially that it seems that Pakatan Rakyat’s (the opposition coalition) largest party, Anwar Ibrahim’s Parti Keadilan Rakyat, is sending four of themselves to the same, ahem, renegade province.

What surprises me is that no official statement has been made by Beijing when 78 Malaysian parliamentarians descend upon Taiwan. A territory that, under our imposed One China policy, does not exist politically (But meh, it’s not as if President Ma would use this to bring Taiwan closer to international recognition. Unfortunately).

Update: Maybe Googling will help:

Expressing China’s concern on the “agriculture study tour”, the embassy’s political affairs attaché, Chen Feng, said China has raised the matter with Malaysia as it is a big entourage and the members are all MPs.

Chen told Nanyang that the embassy was subsequently informed that the study tour was not an official mission.

“That (private tour) is what we have been told, but we hope they would visit China, Macau and Hongkong (instead). (A visit to) Taiwan is, after all, a bit sensitive,” he said.

However, he believed that no ties will be strained because of the Taiwan visit.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Rais Yatim confirmed that Wisma Putra has explained to the Chinese the study tour is a private mission.

How private. You would, however, be pleased to note that BN backbenchers aren’t treated like “three-year olds”. They have their mobile phones and passports at hand! Wee!

Honestly, a better idea is to visit a non-contentious country like New Zealand or Zimbabwe. Clearly not particularly well-thought off. Hope they do pick up a thing or two regarding land reforms while they’re there.

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