Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Would Malaysia follow the wisdom of Australia with regard Trade Agreements?

 Australia, in April 2011, announced it would not agree to including investor-state dispute settlement provisions in its BITS and free trade agreements, and this is what Australia has done in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, which involves Malaysia

Would Malaysia follow the wisdom of Australia? Or would it foolishly still agree to be bound to the 'investor state disputes procedure' - which opens the future actions by any foreign investor (including shareholders?) to drag Malaysia into expensive arbitration in a tribunal in the US - and this can be done when Malaysia in the future changes laws and policies for the benefit of workers, public health, environmental protection... Most of these Trade Agreements expect Malaysia to stay where it is today with regards to worker and public rights and welfare, public health, environmental protection. 

So, if Malaysia 
- abolishes short-term employment contracts and outsourcing in favour of regular employment until retirement 
-  provides for a higher mandatory minimum wage
-  insist of just 8-hour working day
- decides on public health consideration to shut down LYNAS
would that not result in some foreign investor hauling Malaysia to some expensive arbitration in the US claiming millions of ringgit..by reason of some of these investor protection clauses in Free Trade Agreements(FTAs) or Bilateral Investment Treaties(BITs) - true or false, I do not know since our Malaysian government does not tell us anything - and most things are secret. 

After all the BN government's position has usually been 'Don't Worry...We Will Do What is Best' - and so Malaysians were kept in the dark about many things...  Do see earlier posts:-

What is Malaysia doing about stopping foreign investors preventing improvement of livelihood of Malaysians?

By signing FTAs with Investor Protection Clauses, Malaysia has failed Malaysians

VDO of the New Zealand parliamentary sitting found on YouTube (we in Malaysia do not even have the right to live broadcasts of Parliamentary sessions) - discussing this very issue of "investor state disputes"...   

Question:Does he stand by his statement regarding investor state disputes procedures proposed in the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement that "An exclusion solely for Australia and not for everybody else is unlikely to be something we would support"; if so, why?

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