Saturday, August 01, 2015

Have a Referendum and allow Malaysians to decide whether Malaysia signs the TPPA or not?

The US seem to be willing to overlook human rights and worker rights standards - just to ensure that Malaysia would be able to sign the TPPA. Now, if Malaysia remained in Tier 3 - in the US's Human Trafficking rating, US would not be able to sign a trade agreement with Malaysia >> Hence, the recent report upgrades Malaysia to Tier 2. This move have been criticized by many...See for yourself the previous report and the reasons why Malaysia was classified as being Tier 3 - has anything improved. Remember, the report is also about the condition of labour - which includes the treatment of local workers.

The Hawaii meeting was supposed to be the meeting where the final agreement was reached - the signing proper was supposed to be sometime later - in October?

Malaysia has yet to sign the TPPA - that would be true BUT the question is whether Malaysia has agreed to all the contents of the TPPA agreement in Hawaii..

The Minister talks about a 'own domestic process before a final decision to sign and ratify the pact' - but will the contents of the Agreement be disclosed to the Malaysian public or even the Parliament > or will the decision just be made finally by Prime Minister Najib? 

Now, in Malaysia, it is not the Malaysian people that select and vote in the Prime Minister > which is what happened in US vide the Presidential Elections? 

In Malaysia, we vote for Members of Parliament(MPs) - and then the MPs 'choose' the PM - being the MP that enjoys the 'confidence of the majority' - and that was Najib - who became PM. The YDP Agung then proceeds to appoint him PM.

Then, the Prime Minister picks and chooses from amongst MPs and Senators, persons who will be 'his team' - his cabinet - and this will be the Executive. Really, these Ministers and Deputy Ministers will not be unless PM Najib picks them. Likewise, he can also remove people from the Cabinet >> as he just did. Now, in such a case, would a Cabinet decision making process be 'truly democratic' as in any other democratically elected 'executive committee' of other societies and organizations? No, it would not be.

A democratic decision making body would then be the Parliament - but alas because of the 'usage of party whips' and the position of many political parties - MPs too do not have the right to freedom of expression/opinion or more importantly freedom to vote as they please. For BN, there is a 'rule' not to vote against the government, or not to vote in support of the Opposition. But, alas the same is the case when it comes to many Opposition parties. So, for most votes in Parliament - we see BN votes so many, and Opposition votes so many... It would be good to know how each and every Senator votes for all that required a vote > then we would know > then it would make real the importance of lobbying MPs and Senators. 

Given this state of affairs, of how the Executive(the Cabinet) decides and how the Legislative(the Parliament) considers and make decisions - it is only reasonable that the people themselves should decide - we should really have a REFERENDUM to decide whether Malaysia will sign the TPPA or not? 

What are the reported concerns of the Minister is also most disturbing - we shall discuss that later.  

M'sia will not sign TPPA in Hawaii, says Mustapa
Published on: Thursday, July 30, 2015

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia will not sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) at the ministerial meeting in Hawaii from July 28-31, says Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed. 

Mustapa, who heads the Malaysian negotiating team comprising experts from over 20 ministries and agencies, said: "The signing of the TPPA will not happen in Hawaii." 

In a statement Wednesday, he said, like Malaysia, each TPPA member will need to go through its own domestic process before a final decision to sign and ratify the pact was made. 

"As the minister in charge of the TPPA talks, it is my responsibility to ensure that our constitution, sovereignty and core policies of the nation, including the interests of the Bumiputera community, are safeguarded and upheld. 

"Our objective at this meeting is to ensure that Malaysia's interests and concerns are addressed," he said. He said after five years, the TPPA negotiations are nearing conclusion and at this stage countries need to make hard decisions. 

"As in all negotiations there are concessions that need to be made," he said. 

He said the government has taken a firm stand in the TPPA, in which the country's constitution, sovereignty and core policies such as government procurement, state­-owned enterprises and the Bumiputera agenda will be safeguarded. 

"I urge Malaysians to keep an open mind on the TPPA. Acknowledge that while there are costs, there are also benefits to the country," he said. 

Mustapa said the feedback from all parties regarding TPPA has helped guide and influence his negotiating stance on various issues under discussion. 

He said ultimately, the final document, together with the two cost-and-benefit analyses will be presented to the public and Parliament. The decision whether to sign or reject TPPA will be a collective Malaysian decision, he said. 

Mustapa said the TPPA does not prevent governments from pursuing and regulating legitimate public policy objectives, especially in areas such as national security, public health environment and welfare. 

In the meantime, there are a number of safeguards being negotiated to address key concerns, including the avoidance of frivolous challenges by investors, he said. 

"It is important to note that the Investor­State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism is not new for Malaysia. 

"We already have 74 bilateral investment treaties and eight free trade agreements (FTAs) which contain ISDS provisions," he said. 

On government procurements, Mustapa said, Malaysia is safeguarding Bumiputera preferences by ensuring that the current Bumiputera and small and medium enterprise preferences are maintained. 

As for capital controls, Malaysia has successfully defended the rights to ensure that there will be sufficient policy space to mitigate any destabilising effect of capital flows and preserve financial and macroeconomic stability, he said. He said another major concern is the claim that the prices of medicines will rise astronomically as a result of stronger patent protection. 

However, in reality, the patent-protection clauses in the TPPA are not that different from Malaysia's current regulations on this subject, Mustapa said. 

Malaysia found that the TPPA provides it with market access to four trading partners that it no FTAs with – US, Canada, Mexico and Peru, he said. 

On Islam, Mustapa gave an assurance that nothing in the TPPA will threaten the position of it as the official religion of Malaysia and the government will never allow any FTA to undermine this constitutional provision.

On a common concern that the TPPA is being negotiated 'secretly', the minister said: "In international negotiations, the negotiating text is not normally made public. However, all the issues being negotiated have been openly discussed."

He said Malaysians will have access to the full text in the event that an agreement is reached. – Bernama- Daily Express, 30/7/2015, M'sia will not sign TPPA in Hawaii, says Mustapa

See earlier posts:-

U.S.: Don’t Let Trade Trump Human Rights (Fortify Rights Statement)

TPPA : Malaysia Mesti Tarik Diri, Muktamad Minggu Ini

In Bahasa Malaysia, there have been some good articles that tells why we must say NO to TPPA

TPPA : Malaysia Mesti Tarik Diri, Muktamad Minggu Ini

Jangan tandatangan TPPA - Harakahdaily 

TPPA - Dewan Pemuda PAS tuntut hak dapat maklumat

See also:-

For raising minimum wages, Egypt sued by Veolia, a French multinational?

Upgrading Malaysia despite no real change in 'worker exploitation' because of TPPA?

MTUC:- Are US State Department and TPP endorsing Force Labour Pratices In Malaysia?

Malaysian Bar:- Untimely and Unwarranted Upgrade in the Trafficking in Persons Report Compromises the Fight Against Human Trafficking

TPPA - ISDS Clauses - States never win,Only investors win awards ofdamages?

MTUC says NO to Malaysia signing agreements that will stagnate or erode worker rights



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