Malay Economic Action Council demands Malaysia's withdrawal from TPPA negotiations
Online Publication Date: 17 May 2013
MTEM DEMANDS GOVERNMENT
TO WITHDRAW FROM TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT (TPPA) NEGOTIATIONS
The Malay Economic Action Council (MTEM)
is concerned that Malaysia’s MITI is participating in the most advanced stage
of the TPPA negotiations without first obtaining approval from Parliament. The
TPPA has been criticized by many countries and civil society for being a
lop-sided trade agreement that will benefit the Transnational Corporations and
companies from the West at the expense of national companies. Specific
provisions in the TPPA will ensure that countries who sign up will effectively
give up their sovereignty. Despite the huge potential negative impact of the
TPPA on Malaysia’s economic and political fabric, Parliament has not been
consulted on the negotiations and there has not been any debate about the
benefits of signing up to such a treaty. Instead MITI has taken upon itself to
sign away Malaysia’s economic sovereignty.
round of the TPPA negotiations is now starting in Lima, Peru from 15-24th May
2013. Over the last 16 rounds of negotiations, in a 24 month span, there
has been no public consultation nor information been provided to the public or
the Parliament. Instead the negotiations have been shrouded with secrecy and
conducted with very little transparency by MITI. MTEM has contacted many
Malaysian Government agencies such as the Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of
Finance, Ministry of Health, industry organizations and even NGOs who will be
affected by the TPPA and there has been an alarming ignorance about the
direction and content of the TPPA negotiations.
has learned that the TPPA is planned to be signed and officially launched in
October 2013 in a Southeast Asian city, most likely Bandar Seri Begawan.
President Barak Obama himself has planned to attend the event in a move that is
calculated to coerce any heads of state with lingering doubts to sign up. MTEM
is baffled mainly because of the clandestine nature of the negotiation,
especially when it involve national interest and poses imminent threat towards
the nations economic prosperity, sovereignty and judiciary.
is no logical reason for signing the TPPA when countries are already members of
the World trade Organization (WTO). Critics all over the world have accused the
TPPA of exposing smaller countries to maximum trade colonization. Member
countries will be forced to open their economies and subject to potential
lawsuits not from another sovereign country, but from international
corporations. Critics contend that the biggest benefactors of TPPA will be the
USA and other developed nations within the coalition. The TPPA is aimed
at maximizing US investment interests in the region, as a strategy for
containing the rise of China. Specific provisions in the TPPA on intellectual
property protection will enable US companies to penetrate domestic markets and
squeeze out competition from domestic companies. The US is currently the
world’s biggest patent exporter and TPPA will be an ideal solution in
prolonging and tightening their grip.
example of risk in the TPPA can be seen in the investment chapter which
promotes a lopsided, two-track legal system. Investment dispute settlement
empowers any legal enterprise to sue the state outside of their legal borders. Usually
it is the large Transnational Corporations who have the muscle, stamina and
capacity to launch such lawsuits. There have been many cases when
sovereign-states have been brought to court on mere technicalities and lost
their case. These countries have been made to pay private corporations billions
of tax-payer’s dollars. We have seen these trends in cases when Equador,
Mexico and a few other countries have lost their case to US private
corporations in bilateral trade disputes.
TPP Agreement also highlights a peculiar ‘one solution fits all’ trade and
investment law. MTEM is not convinced that the 12 potential member
countries, with their unique socio-economic landscape and histories, should
submit to one common legal system that lies outside of the democratic process. Malaysia
in particular is a multiethnic nation with a well defined approach for
developing the different ethic groups while at the same time maintaining the
social and economic balance between them. The standards in the TPPA will
view Malaysia’s economic policies as inefficient and legally wrong. For example
specific TPPA chapters such as Preferential Treatment and Trade Barriers will
make the Government’s1Malaysia products such as BR1M, KR1M etc. illegal.
This will also apply to Government-linked Companies (GLC) such as Khazanah
Nasional, Malaysian Airlines, CIMB Bank, Petronas, etc.
addition the use of a ‘negative list’ in the TPPA will hinder any effort of
Governments to protect, support and grow new and infant industries in their own
country, while giving space and competitive advantages to US and other Western
Minister of Malaysia; Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak had in April 2013, published
an ETP / GTP Report Card announcing all the magnificent economic achievements
of the country and the fulfillment of its social obligation through the
transformation program. If such report reflect through nature of business;
these had proven that without the TPP the government is able to achieve its
target and there is no reasons to lock this Nation of ours; in this
pro-corporate regulatory bias and rights to demand compensation for new
regulation through a secretly negotiated ‘trade’ deal.
is gravely concerned that MITI’s duplicity will compel the Malaysian government
to sign the TPPA agreement without having due process. To sign an agreement
with such far reaching negative impact on the country without even debating it
in Parliament and proper and meaningful public consultation; an agreement where
the risks far out-weigh the benefits. This will be a travesty of justice of the
highest order and a slap on the face of the democratic process.
fears the prospect of TPPA becoming the Pangkor Treaty of the 21st
century. When it was secretly signed in 1874, the Pangkor Treaty became
the turning point for the independence of the Malay States as it legitimized
British control over Malay rulers and paved the way for British
imperialism in Malaya. The use of TPPA as a tool for neo-colonialism
must be looked into by the Malaysian parliament.
is concerned about the outrageous secrecy and lack of transparency surrounding
the TPPA negotiations – which will be applied to almost 500 million people in
the Asia-Pacific region; and specifically to the 28 million citizens of
Malaysia. Therefore MTEM together with its 50 NGO members representing half a
million local enterprises strongly urges the Malaysian government to WITHDRAW further
TPPA involvement until a full accounting and cost-benefit analysis has been
conducted, proper and meaningful public consultation and presented to the
Malaysian parliament. The TPPA must be decided by the people of Malaysia, not
by secretive bureaucrats.