Malaysia

Dr M, Malay chamber want Najib to reject free trade deal with Washington

KUALA LUMPUR, April 4 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad will join the Malay Economic Action Council’s (MTEM) campaign to call on the Najib administration to reject the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), a free-trade agreement led by the United States.

Its chairman Datuk Syed Ali Mohamed Allatas called the agreement a threat to Malaysia’s economy and sovereignty, arguing that Malay businesses would be the most impacted should Putrajaya pen the deal which detractors claimed could expose Malaysia to a “new form of domination”.

Critics of the TPPA claim the agreement was designed by and to favour US-based giant corporations aimed at “infiltrating” new markets.

“It is a new form of domination. Our economy will be shared by others. We will share the sovereignty of our country,” Syed Ali told reporters here.

He added that MTEM will organise a forum with Dr Mahathir (picture) as a key speaker on April 25 as a part of its campaign to force Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to dismiss the TPPA.

According to Global Research on Globalisation (GRG), a signatory country “must conform to a rigid set of legal regulations, including strict intellectual property protections, authored by representatives of big foreign corporations”.

Syed Ali noted the TPPA negotiations were often conducted without transparency despite its obvious impact on local businesses, a critic echoed by some of the agreement’s critics which include members of US Senate and Congress, according to GRG.

“While critics of the agreement call it ‘a stealth attack on democratic governance,’ leading members of the US Senate and Congress have expressed outrage over the TPP primarily due to the climate of secrecy surrounding the negotiation,” it said.

Meanwhile, opposition leaders have demanded that the Najib government make public the details of the talks.

Putrajaya was said to be least forthcoming with any information on the negotiations.

NGOs such as the Malaysian AIDS Council and the Breast Cancer Welfare Association Malaysia have also voiced their concern over the TPPA’s restrictive intellectual property laws, which allow American drug companies to secure long-term monopolies on pharmaceutical products by preventing the production of generic drugs.

This would mean drastic increases in the price of medicine, healthcare activists claimed.

Najib had said his government would give its full commitment to the TTP partnership.

Syed Ali, however, said he doubted most of those in the government know the detriments of the agreement.

“Most of them are unaware. Even the ministers are not aware,” he said.

 

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