Najib: Don’t fear TPP, Bumi agenda intact

File photo of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak inspects the Umno Youth during the annual assembly at the Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur, December 10, 2015. — Reuters pic
File photo of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak inspects the Umno Youth during the annual assembly at the Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur, December 10, 2015. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 12 — Malaysia won key concessions to safeguard its Bumiputera interests when negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Datuk Seri Najib Razak said when reassuring Umno delegates about the trade deal today.

The Umno president told the delegates that there was nothing to fear from the agreement, saying that Malaysia would be entering the TPP on its own terms.

“We said the Bumiputera agenda is a red line, meaning if they did not accept, we would have withdrawn from TPP.

“We stood our ground and, in the end, all 11 TPP countries including the United States accepted that the Bumiputera agenda must be part of the TPP conditions,” he said during his winding up speech at the Umno general assembly at the Putra World Trade Centre here.

“So what else is there to fear? Nothing,” he said, before asking delegates if they felt Malaysia was afraid of competing against the rest of the world.

Malaysia and 11 other nations — US, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam — concluded negotiations on the TPP on October 5.

According to the TPP text, Malaysia has offered to open up the government procurement market, but the Bumiputera policy is reserved, with 30 per cent set aside for Bumiputera contractors in the construction services and a margin of price preference to Bumiputera suppliers and manufacturers in the goods and services sector.

Analysts have also noted that the TPP will require the government to undertake significant structural changes that will result in net positive outcomes for Malaysia
Parliament is expected to debate the TPP early next year.