KUCHING, Jan 15 — Malaysia risks being left behind other countries such as Vietnam if it were to reject the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamad said.
He said Malaysia risked losing its attraction as a choice investment destination of manufacturers and service providers for the TPP market if it were to stay out of the trade deal.
“Malaysia will face more intense competition from Vietnam and Singapore in wooing foreign investments if we do not join TPP. “If Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines were to join TPP later, Malaysia will lag further behind.
“We will also lose the first-mover opportunity, while local and foreign companies operating in Malaysia might scale down their operations.” he said at a briefing on the TPP for civil servants and the business community here today.
Mustapa said after five years of tense and difficult negotiations over the TPP, Malaysia was granted exemptions and flexibilities in defending its national interests such as the Bumiputera policy, halal certification, and flexibility on the use of high thresholds and offsets during transitional periods.
He said in future, the TPP membership would be open to Apec member states, while Indonesia, South Korea, Thailand and the Philippines had expressed their desire to join the TPP after considering its benefits.
“The government feels that there are more advantages than disadvantages in joining TPP,” he added.
He cited wider market access, a comprehensive integration in the supply chain at the regional and global levels for small and medium enterprises, and upsurge in investments as examples.
“In addition, it will also contribute to higher revenue and employment and governance based on international standards and best practises, thus enhancing Malaysia’s GDP,” he added.
Meanwhile, Mustapha said during his briefing to the Sarawak state Cabinet this morning, Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem had given his nod on the TPP.
Mustapa said the TPP would help Sarawak expand its exports of products and services, while attracting more foreign investments.
Meanwhile, in his speech, State Industrial Development Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan said Sarawak needed to expand its exports, particularly in petroleum-based products, timber and oil palm. — Bernama