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No need for select committee on TPPA

 | June 27, 2013

Public consultations and queries in parliament are enough to address the matter, says Mustapa Mohamad, the International Trade and Industries Minister

KUALA LUMPUR: There is no need to form a parliamentary select committee to scrutinise the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), said International Trade and Industries Minister Mustapa Mohamad.

“Debates in Parliament and public consultations are enough,” he said, at the Parliament today.

He was responding to calls by DAP MP Charles Santiago to reveal details of the talks between Malaysian delegates and their foreign counterparts on the free trade agreement in Parliament.

The DAP leader also called on the government to form a select committee to scrutinise the deal before signing any agreement.

But Mustapa shot down the idea to form a select committee and said that he would need to get back to his lawyers on whether he could reveal more details of TPPA.

However, the minister vowed that the government would not sign the agreement if it would jeopardise the nation’s sovereignity.

“We are also against any extension of patent rights on drugs if it is going to force prices of medicine to escalate,” said Mustapa.

Pakatan MPs and several NGOs criticised the government’s move to engage in the TPPA talks, saying the deal could jeopardise the nation’s sovereignty and see an increase in prices of medicine.

GST won’t be implemented yet

They claimed that under the TPPA, the signatory country could be hauled up to international arbitration by a private company should they implement policies to protect national interest.

Santiago cited a case in which cigarette giant Philip Morris is suing the Uruguay government over its anti-smoking campaign, claiming that it violates the free trade agreement.

On another matter, Finance Minister Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah said that the government has no plans to introduce the Goods and Services Tax (GST) for the time being.

“We are still studying on how the new taxation will affect the economy and the people,” said the Tambun MP.

However, Husni reiterated that should GST be introduced, the new tax system will replace the current Sales and Services Tax.

He added that GST will also exclude essential items such as rice, flour, cooking oil and others, in order to protect the poor.

“But if we impose GST next year, we will gain RM26 billion in revenue, as opposed the sales and services tax that will only bring RM20 billion,” said Husni.

Also read:

K’jaan jamin TPPA tidak korban kedaulatan negara


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