Thousands rally against TPP

Imaam Abd Aziz, 18, from Ampang PAS holding a banner showing US President Barack Obama as an opportunist during the anti-TPPA rally in Kuala Lumpur on January 23, 2016. — Picture by Yiswaree Palansamy
Imaam Abd Aziz, 18, from Ampang PAS holding a banner showing US President Barack Obama as an opportunist during the anti-TPPA rally in Kuala Lumpur on January 23, 2016. — Picture by Yiswaree Palansamy

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 23 — An estimated 4,000 protesters rallied today in the capital city in a last-ditch attempt to stop Malaysia from joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement that will be voted on in Parliament next week.

The demonstrators were predominantly from PAS dressed in their signature green. Activists and students also attended the rally.

Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) president Mohamad Sabu, along with a couple of PKR leaders like party vice-president Chua Tian Chang as well as Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) were present too. No DAP leaders were spotted except for Charles Santiago, who has repeatedly criticised the TPP.

Cries of “Hancur hancur, hancur TPPA” (Destroy the TPPA) and “Hidup Islam” (Long live Islam) filled the air as the protesters marched from Masjid Negara to Padang Merbok.

Protesters marching from Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman were heard chanting “Bantah TPPA” (Oppose the TPPA) while holding placards that read “TPPA = ada ubat tak mampu beli” [TPPA = got medicine, but can’t afford to buy] and “Sky high prices of patented medicine”.

There was also notable police presence at Dataran Merdeka, which has been barricaded shut with at least 20 officers standing guard with another six police trucks on standby further past the barricades.

Critics of the TPP contend that the Pacific free trade treaty could lead to medicine price hikes and give large American corporations an advantage over smaller Bumiputera companies in Malaysia.