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Najib concerned over TPPA

October 7, 2013

The Prime Minister said flexibility is key to success in negotiations.

NUSA DUA (BALI): Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak today expressed his concern on a few areas in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement at the Apec CEO Summit Dialogue.

He also stressed that “flexibility” as the key to successful negotiation of the agreement at the dialogue themed “Investment in Infrastructure and Human Capital — Investing for Economic Resilience”.

“We do have a few areas of great concern because TPP is a different free trade agreement,” said Najib, who is a panel member with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, in response to a question by the dialogue moderator, Diane Brady, a senior editor with Bloomberg about his concerns on the TPP.

The prime minister said the TPP goes beyond the normal trade and investment as part of the Free Trade Agreement that Malaysia has been going with many countries.

“As you go beyond that, into areas of intellectual properties, investor-state dispute settlement, government procurement, state-owned enterprises, environment and labour, so you impinge on fundamentally the sovereign right of the country to make regulation and policy.

“That is a tricky part and that is why we ask for flexibility,” he said.

Najib also said the government was committed that the TPP matter would be presented to the (Malaysian) Parliament.

Najib had said yesterday that the TPP agreement is expected to take a longer time to be concluded than its initial year-end timeline.

The TPP is a proposed free trade agreement under negotiations by the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) member countries — Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, South Korea, the United States and Vietnam.

Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry Hamim Samuri told the Dewan Negara today that the government would ensure that the nation’s and the people’s interests are not compromised in the ongoing negotiations of the trade pact.

Hamim also said Malaysia is not being pressured by any party to sign the TPPA as claimed by certain quarters.

Asked on the importance of the Bumiputeras or the affirmative action policy for the country’s resilience, Najib said: “The Bumiputera policy should be seen in the context of having fair and just society because Bumiputeras comprise 67% of the population and that include both Muslims and non-Muslim Bumiputeras as well in Sabah and Sarawak.

“If Bumiputeras were to be left behind or marginalised, it doesn’t lead to long-term stability of the country.”

Moving forward, Najib said the policy will be implemented in a market-friendly way and different from the past which invited some criticism against it.

“If it’s implemented in a fairer and market-friendly way, I think it’s going to be good for the country,” he said, adding that while the policy is being implemented, non-Bumiputeras still benefited from the same policy.

- Bernama

Also read:

No pressure from anyone to sign TPPA


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