PKR president Anwar Ibrahim has savaged Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein over the latter's "big brother" remark when engaging China, saying it may have set Malaysia's foreign policy back by 25 years.
The foreign minister's comment on Friday, Anwar said, could have also undermined decades of hard work of seasoned Wisma Putra officers.
"It signals to the international community that Malaysia's orientation as a neutral nation is changing under the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government.
"The foreign minister's attempt to downplay his comment illustrates a lackadaisical understanding of diplomacy, strategy, Asean politics and China in the PN cabinet," said Anwar in a statement today.
The Port Dickson MP claimed that the pace of mistakes, missteps and miscalculations by the PN government is accelerating.
"Much of the world is aware that the PN government lacks a parliamentary majority. Our allies and adversaries alike, be they officials of state or corporations and businesses, may attempt to use PN's weakness as an opportunity to extract benefits in their engagements with Malaysia.
"This could be done to the detriment of Malaysia's diplomatic standing, the economy and the well-being of the people," he added.
For the record, Hishammuddin yesterday tweeted that the "big brother" remark which he used was not referring to bilateral relations but personally to his China counterpart Wang Yi.
He described Wang Yi as someone who is older and more senior to him.
Hishammuddin had just ended his two-day working visit to China.
Wang Yi had responded by saying "we are brothers" to Hishammuddin after the latter described China as Malaysia's "big brother" during the media conference.
Anwar discarded this explanation saying: "Given PN's shaky position we are concerned that policy decisions are being made that would be beneficial to prolonging PN's grip on power, potentially at the expense of our national interests, security and sovereignty.
"This is why a prime minister who has lost the confidence of the majority is duty-bound in the Westminister system to resign and allow the constitutional process to proceed.
"Instead we have a prime minister hiding behind the emergency declaration and cutting deals left and right to cling to power," said Anwar.
Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has thus far failed to establish his majority through a vote of support in the Dewan Rakyat, although he was able to pass the budget last year.
Parliament has been suspended under the terms of the Emergency Ordinance, although MPs are included in the list of frontliners who are first in line to take the Covid-19 vaccine.