Malaysia ‘marginalised’ if out of TPP, Gerakan says

Gerakan president Datuk Mah Siew Keong speaking during the party’s 44th National Delegates Conference at the Setia Convention Centre, Shah Alam, Oct 18, 2015. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng
Gerakan president Datuk Mah Siew Keong speaking during the party’s 44th National Delegates Conference at the Setia Convention Centre, Shah Alam, Oct 18, 2015. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

SHAH ALAM, Oct 18 — Gerakan backed today Malaysia’s potential ratification of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, saying the free trade treaty would allow access to world markets otherwise inaccessible..

Gerakan president Datuk Mah Siew Keong expressed disappointment at “some politicians” who had previously told him they supported the TPP, but were now criticising it publicly for populist reasons.

“TPP should not be politicised,” Mah said in a speech at Gerakan’s 44th National Delegates Conference here today.

“We should look at it objectively. It opens the door for Malaysia to 40 per cent of the world’s economy. If we are out, we will be marginalised,” added the former chairman of national trade promotion agency Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE).

Mah, who is also minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, said it was unfair to accuse International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed of selling out the country during negotiations for the TPP.

“Everything will be transparent and presented to Parliament. There’ll be a cost benefit analysis,” he said.

National news agency Bernama reported Mustapa as saying Thursday that the TPP must be tabled in Dewan Rakyat by mid-January.

It was announced on October 5 that the 12 countries involved in the TPP had reached an agreement on the trade deal, with those representing the various nations now set to seeking approval from their various governments to ratify the deal.

According to international reports, the TPP involving the US, Malaysia and other Pacific countries would phase out thousands of import tariffs as well as other barriers to international trade, establish uniform rules on corporations’ intellectual property, and open up the Internet.

Critics have criticised the secrecy with which the deal was negotiated, claiming that it would, among other things, undermine the sovereignty of signatory nations and make drugs more expensive in member countries.

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