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KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 4 — Datuk Darell Leiking has denied today that the then Pakatan Harapan (PH) Cabinet had ratified the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
The former minister of international trade and industry said his successor Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali had neglected subsequent deliberations in claiming that a decision to ratify the trade pact was made on September 2018, but without a concrete timeline.
“On November 29, 2019, after over a year of reflection and research from the decision cited by Azmin, Cabinet agreed that the government had taken a sound step by not ratifying the CPTPP given the negative impacts to domestic industry,” Darell said in a statement.
“If Cabinet decides something at one point in time, but at a later date makes a different decision based on more information and better understanding, which represents the policy of government?
“I am of the view that the latest decision holds, and the last decision I am aware of is that of November 29, 2019 mentioned above,” he added.
The Penampang MP said the Economic Planning Unit, that was formerly Azmin’s Ministry of Economic Affairs, found that while Malaysia’s exports would rise by RM516 million with CPTPP, imports would surge by RM10 billion per year.
As a result, the country’s trade balance would decline by RM9.6 billion per year, in addition to losing RM6.4 billion per year in import duties — making it a total negative loss of RM16 billion per year.
Azmin had earlier today accused Bagan MP Lim Guan Eng of twisting the facts and politicking when the latter interjected in his winding up speech of the Royal Address.
Yesterday, Lim had disputed Azmin’s speech, saying the PH Cabinet had refused to ratify CPTPP for fear of foreign interference in domestic trade and affairs.
11 countries signed the CPTPP to make up a market with a GDP of US$10 trillion (RM41.1 trillion) and a population of 500 million people, including Malaysia.
Other countries include New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Chile, Peru, Mexico, Japan, Brunei, Singapore and Vietnam.
However, the Mahathir administration had been criticised by free trade proponents for dragging its feet in not ratifying it, as the deal was agreed to prior to a change in government then.