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TPPA: 200 rally against ‘colonisation’

 | July 16, 2013

The Anti-FTA Coalition demonstrated outside Parliament and submitted a memorandum to MPs in the hope that the controversial TPPA be postponed and its negotiations made transparent.

KUALA LUMPUR: Some 200 members of the Gabungan Bantah FTA (Anti-FTA Coalition) braved the morning heat to rally against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) deal today, claiming the controversial deal would lead to the colonisation of Malaysia.

The crowd, lead by Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) president Mohd Nasir Hashim, gathered outside Parliament while chanting slogans such as “America, go back, leave Malaysia”, and brandishing homemade placards that read ‘People before patents’ and ‘Patients before profits’.

Meanwhile, about a dozen policemen peacefully watched on from the sidelines — a stark contrast to the bloody rally that kick-started this Parliament’s session on June 24, which saw at least one officer injured.

“TPPA is a modern form of colonisation, we will lose our sovereignty if the TPPA is signed!” declared Mohd Nasir.

“The TTPA is for American corporates and their cronies, and Malaysians will become the victims,” he cried, to cheers from the mixed crowd of Indians and Chinese.

Malays, however, were noticeable absent from the rally, despite the Malay Economic Action Council’s (MTEM) and the Malay Consultative Council’s (MCC) strong opposition against the deal, which is said to be shrouded with secrecy.

The TPPA is an agreement that the US, as a leading negotiator, is hoping to ink with 11 countries to consolidate its role in developing a broader platform for trade liberalisation in the Asia Pacific region.

The TPPA, which has been in negotiations since 2008, if inked would bind participants to rules on everything from food safety to medicine and internet behavior.

Various groups –from political parties, NGOs to individual citizens – including former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad have opposed the trade pact calling it the “biggest mistake”.

Memorandum submitted to MPs

Several representatives of the anti-FTA movement then entered the Parliament grounds to submit a memorandum to Sungai Siput MP Dr Michael Jeyakumar and Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar, both of whom are members of the parliamentary caucus on the TPPA.

The memorandum demanded that the negotiations on the TPPA be postponed to allow parliamentarians to debate the deal in the Dewan Rakyat.

It also called for a Cost-Benefit Analysis to be made public.

Jeyakumar said the caucus was ready to accept the memorandum and to invite stakeholders and industry members for a discussion on the deal.

But Nurul Izzah pointed out that the caucus was not binding, and called for a parliamentary select committee to be formed on the TPPA.

“Time is ticking, President Obama is coming to Malaysia in October. We should pressure all, including the Prime Minister and all parties concerned to not yet sign the deal,” she said.

Jeyakumar added: “We want at least a guarantee from the government that Parliament will be informed of all details of the TPPA… there should be no signing of the deal without full disclosure.”

Meanwhile, when cornered by reporters, the Minister of International Trade and Industry (MITI), Mustapa Mohamad said the deal was not yet set in stone.

“Negotiations are still in progressed… We stand by our position that the agreement is based on national interest, and we will not compromise on the national interest,” he said.

Also read:

No signing of TPPA in October


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