KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 23 ― Lawmakers from both sides of the political divide will be briefed on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) agreement in a workshop to be held less than two weeks before the trade deal is tabled in Parliament, Putrajaya said today.
International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said his ministry will organise the day-long workshop in the middle of January to explain the details of the deal.
“We will have a briefing and workshops according to the chapters so they can understand the issues to help them to debate the bill in Parliament,” he told reporters before speaking to student representatives at Menara Miti here.
He is expected to table the agreement in a special parliamentary sitting on January 26.
The US-initiated TPP talks have been widely criticised in Malaysia, with its opponents coming from the ranks of activists and opposition lawmakers to even former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Critics have claimed that the TPPA would drive up medical costs due to patent provisions in the deal that would curb access to generic medicines, and also have an adverse effect on the country’s rice industry.
The TPP’s confidential negotiations officially kicked off in 2008 and included Brunei, Chile, Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, the US and Vietnam.
Despite criticism over its lack of transparency compared to the US’ ongoing negotiations with the Eurozone on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the TPP has drawn the attention of Colombia, the Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan and South Korea which have all expressed an interest in joining the pact of Pacific Rim countries.