Mustapa: TPPA an avenue for workers to voice views

Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said the TPPA will allow more trade unions to be formed and in the process, according workers more opportunities to voice their views. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said the TPPA will allow more trade unions to be formed and in the process, according workers more opportunities to voice their views. — Picture by Choo Choy May

JOHOR BARU, Jan 10 — The Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), to be tabled in Parliament at month-end, will ensure the rights of Malaysian workers are better protected.

This includes allowing more trade unions to be formed and in the process, according them more opportunities to voice their views, said Minister of International Trade and Industry (Miti) Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.

“Among the issues we have agreed to is to give more room for workers to form trade unions.

“At present, there may be restrictions and we need to make some amendments to the law,” he added.

He told reporters this after a briefing on the TPPA to representatives of industry players and small medium enterprises (SMEs) here today.

Mustapa said for example, it is hard to stage a strike at present. However, under the TPPA, the countries concerned agreed to give more opportunities for workers to make known views to their management.

“This matter is being looked into by the Human Resources Ministry and a number of regulations and laws need to be amended,” he added.

He said there were also concerns among the TPPA countries that Malaysia was restricting workers and as such, the feeling is that it would be better to give them more rights.

“The Human Resources Ministry will make the appropriate announcement when the time is right. The changes need to be made two years after the TPPA is signed,” Mustapa added.

Meanwhile, he said a briefing session would be held for Barisan Nasional Members of Parliament tomorrow and another for all members of the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara on Jan 12.

At the same time, Miti will also issue an information booklet on the TPPA that is brief and easy to understand, for Members of Parliament and the public from tomorrow.

“We hope this aspect of preparations done by us will assist in providing information to the Members of Parliament and greater understanding of the TPPA benefits,” Mustapa said.

He is expected to table the TPPA at a special sitting of the Dewan Rakyat on Jan 26, with a decision to be made the following day, before being brought to the Dewan Negara on Jan 28.

On the SMEs, Mustapa said upon agreement on the signing of the TPPA, the government would draft a plan to look closely at how they can benefit from the trade deal.

“It involves 645,000 SMEs and the government will definitely ensure that they benefit from the open market overseas. We want them to continue staying resilient on the home front,” he added.

The TPPA negotiations which were completed on Oct 5 last year, involves Malaysia and 11 others countries, namely the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. — Bernama

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