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Do we trust govt or WikiLeaks on TPPA?

 | December 12, 2013

WikiLeaks seems to be more transparent in revealing the details spelled out in the TPPA negotiations, says Charles Santiago.

PETALING JAYA: Malaysians have the option of either trusting whistleblower WikiLeaks or the government with regard to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).

Klang MP Charles Santiago was responding to International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed who had told Malaysians not to use the whistleblower’s disclosure to assess the TPPA talks.

“However, since the government does not tell us what’s happening, we have an option to either trust WikiLeaks or the secret negotiations no one knows anything about,” said Santiago at a press conference today.

The Klang MP added that the whistleblower site is also more transparent and substantive as well as helpful in understanding the agreement.

Mustapa yesterday urged Malaysians not to base their assessment of the ongoing TPPA negotiations on WikiLeaks and instead base their assessment on the consultations the government is currently undertaking.

A two-part memo was released by WikiLeaks on Monday following an earlier intellectual property (IP) rights document leak in November.

Documents have shown that the United States (US) has not backed down on its requests and may bulldoze through its provisions as long as it gets the agreement of most signatory countries.

Based on the latest leak in which Malaysia’s stand prior to the recent meeting in Singapore was revealed, Malaysia’s position was mostly hardline.

“However, Malaysia’s stand is changing as opposed to the US. The US is not flexible, it is asking everyone to change except them.

“Why is it when the US puts forward a particular position, everyone follows it, but when Malaysia puts forward something good, the US is not following Malaysia?” the DAP MP asked, citing the tobacco carve out.

Santiago added that this illustrated the two levels of power play in the trade negotiation.

“If Malaysia thinks it is equal with the US, then, really push for the carve out,” he said.

Medicines to cost more

On the IP chapter on medicine, Santiago said it was important as it is about life and most Malaysians depend on generic medicine.

The leaked documents show that the US is asking for provisions that would affect the cost of medicine.

“We do not know whether Malaysia has agreed to it or we must wait for WikiLeaks to reveal it.

“Malaysian negotiators must decide whether they can negotiate on the IP chapter or simply withdraw from the TPPA.

“The government needs to make a decision; should health be made a trade-able commodity?” he asked.

Santiago also questioned whether the country’s interests are really protected.

“What mandate is the minister talking about? Are the interests really protected?

Mustapa yesterday reiterated that Malaysia continues to negotiate based on the mandate given by the cabinet.

Santiago then said that bringing the TPPA text to Parliament “means nothing” as it is almost 3,000 pages long.

“The text should have a translated version in Malay, each chapter should have a cost and benefit analysis and the agreement should protect the national interest,” he said.

Mustapa had said that after the conclusion of the TPPA negotiations, the text will be presented to Parliament for debate.


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