KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 15 ― PAS suggested today that Putrajaya hold a referendum to get the public’s mandate on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, saying the government should not rely on support from Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs in Parliament.
PAS deputy president Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man added that debating the controversial trade agreement in Parliament would be nothing more than “decorative”, claiming it was likely that BN lawmakers have already been told how to vote.
“And because the TPP will leave a huge impact on the country's future and the generations to come, the government cannot decide to sign the TPP based on the support of its 134 BN MPs, who have shown in the past that they are capable of behaving like cows led by their noses,” he said in a statement.
“PAS suggests that for the government get public mandate to sign the agreement, a referendum should be held.
“With this referendum, the public can be clearer on the negative and positive implications of Malaysia's involvement in the TPP through a series of discussions involving all parties,” he added.
Tuan Ibrahim also repeated warnings that the TPP, which involves a dozen countries in the Pacific including Malaysia, may threaten sovereignty and make the country beholden to the US, on top of other claims that it could lead to medicine price hikes and threaten internet freedom.
He said at a time when Malaysia is struggling to stay afloat amid a global oil crisis and the weakening ringgit, the BN-led administration should not put the country in a position where it is vulnerable to foreign powers.
The politician said although allowing Parliament to debate the TPP was a step in the right direction, the BN administration’s intentions may be insincere.
“PAS feels it may just be decorative... to show the government is ready to hear us out ― while BN parliamentarians have already been instructed by their higher-ups to vote for the TPP,” he said.
The TPP is a free trade agreement that has been negotiated by the US, Malaysia and ten other nations as part of the larger Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership since 2010.
On October 5, Malaysia together with US, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam concluded negotiations on the TPP. The governments must now seek their individual countries’ mandates to sign the deal.
Deputy Speaker Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee confirmed last month that Parliament will convene for two days starting January 26, during which the Bill on the TPP will be debated and voted on.