Malaysia seems not to be concerned about the future of workers, members of the public, environment, etc. They seem to be only concerned for 'state owned enterprises' ....not even Malaysian own enterprises.. They are concerned about healthcare - this is good but more details please..
'...that the government had agreed to the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system.,,,The ISDS allows foreign corporations to take a country to court if its policies or laws have affected the firm’s business...Putrajaya, however, assured MPs that it had agreed to ISDS with reservations and was working to exempt certain policies from falling under ISDS,... “They have said that Malaysia will ask for exemptions such as for state-owned enterprises and healthcare...'
Odd too because Malaysia just told us in February that they are doing a Cost Benefit Analysis(CBA), which is expected to be completed in June 2015 - so, how come the decision to agree to the ISDS clause. Now, this ISDS is something that will most affect all of us in Malaysia...Even when government's raise minimum wages, they risked being sued by the foreign investor..
See earlier posts:-
The government is expected to conclude its final Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) by the end of June this year, says International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.
Malaysians Need to stop Najib until... [TPPA equals holding nations to ransom, warn experts (Malaysiakini) ]
TPPA - Do not let the foreign investor affect the improvement of livelihood, better health/environmental policies and better worker rights
Putrajaya okay with investor-state dispute clause in trade pact, says DAP lawmaker
Putrajaya’s negotiating team in the TPPA had told MPs recently that the government had agreed to the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system.DAP's Klang MP Charles Santiago (pic) claimed that
The ISDS allows foreign corporations to take a country to court if its policies or laws have affected the firm’s business.
Putrajaya, however, assured MPs that it had agreed to ISDS with reservations and was working to exempt certain policies from falling under ISDS, Santiago said. “They have said that Malaysia will ask for exemptions such as for state-owned enterprises and healthcare.
“But if we finally do sign on to the TPPA, our laws, federal, state, local and even court decisions can be challenged at the international level,” said Santiago.
The ISDS has been seized by TPPA critics as problematic as countries have been brought to international arbitration tribunals by multinational firms over their policies.
Santiago cited the example of the Phillip Morris case against Uruguay in 2009 and Australia (2011), where the tobacco giant sued the governments of both countries for their anti-smoking policies.
Both countries had wanted to force companies to enact plain-packaging on cigarette packs to curb smoking.
But Phillip Morris took both countries to international arbiters and claimed that such a policy would hurt the firm’s sales. This was done through different trade agreements both countries had signed on and which contained ISDS.
In both cases, Santiago said the countries had also asked that public health policies and laws be exempted from ISDS.
“So even with carve-outs (exemptions), private corporations can still take countries to court,” said Santiago when met after a debate titled “TPPA and Economic Liberalisation: Is it good or bad for Malaysia?”.
In a further sign that the ISDS is already affecting policy-making, Santiago claimed that other countries are now waiting for the Phillip Morris case decision before enacting their own plain packaging laws.
The TPPA debate was organised by IDEAS and the Nottingham University (Malaysia) school of politics, history and international relations.
Critics of the The United States-driven TPPA have charged that it seeks to go further than a free trade agreement by rewriting each country’s economic policies to benefit large corporations.
The TPPA would, among others, raise the price of healthcare and give foreign corporations too much power in the local economy through the ISDS.
The TPPA also demands that participating countries not give preferential treatment to state-owned enterprises or government-linked companies.
Santiago said talks between Malaysia and the US are in their final phase. The US is also courting 11 other countries, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Singapore, Mexico, Japan, Brunei, Peru and Canada.
Fears of Malaysia losing more than it would gain from the TPPA have seen 60 groups from a variety of disparate backgrounds, such as the Malay Economic Action Council and Malaysian AIDS Council, banding together to pressure Putrajaya against signing the pact.
However, a free trade expert Associate Professor Dr Razeen Sally argued that the Phillip Morris case is actually an isolated example and not a general principle when it came to ISDS cases.
“The overall track record is overwhelmingly positive. But there are ways to prevent cases like this from happening again by inserting protections to allow for public health policies to be carved out,” said Sally, who is chairperson for IDEAS’ Political Economy and Governance.
The ISDS is mainly to protect investors’ interests in countries with weak legal institutions and from their profits or assets being wilfully taken over by a government.
During the debate, Sally argued that pacts like the TPPA can end some of the biggest bugbears of the Malaysian economy, a lack of good governance and competition which is caused by cronyism.
He said this was because the TPPA would force governments to open up their economies, including sectors which have traditionally been closed except to a select few with political connections.
“It has some negatives but more positives. It would open the market up to foreign firms to compete, spur locals to innovate and lead to better living standards for consumers,” said Sally.
For instance, the TPPA would entrench a policy of open tenders in government contracts which would help the public to get the best deal when it came to projects.
“An open procurement system would be a good thing since it would lead to better governance and more transparency through competition”, said Sally, who is also visiting associate professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. – March 28, 2015.
17 Feb 2015 10:17 AM
He said a few outstanding issues need to be resolved and talks on the proposed regulatory and investment treaty are still ongoing to ensure it is in Malaysia's favour.
"We are going to execute the final CBA study in the near term, collaborating with an international firm, on whether the TPPA is beneficial for the country or otherwise," he told reporters after the ministry's session with Heads of Foreign Missions here today.
He said the CBA revolves around four issues, starting with the TPPA's impact on the nation, including the country's sovereignty and whether it would affect the weightage in delivering the government's policies.
The second is the TPPA's impact on small and medium enterprises (SMEs), followed by repercussions on Bumiputeras, while the fourth issue looks at the repercussions if the country chose not to participate in the TPPA, Mustapa said.
"Therefore we need a commendable firm that has not only international linkages but also experts in broad issues in order to give inputs for the government to make a sound decision whether it's beneficial in joining the TPPA," he said.
An interim CBA was carried out earlier by the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). - Ministry of International Trade and Industry(MITI) Website