Malaysians urged to protest Obama visit

malaysian obamaPETALING JAYA: Politicians associated with the parliamentary opposition have called for a public protest against US President Barrack Obama’s visit to Malaysia, saying it may result in more pressure being piled on Putrajaya to sign the controversial Transpacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).

Leaders from Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) and Pakatan Rakyat said today that Obama was coming to seek progress on the TPPA and would make it hard for Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak not to sign the trade pact.

PSM treasurer A Sivarajan said in a press release that the US might even team up with Japan to pressure Malaysia.

“Obama is visiting Japan before Malaysia,” he said. “If he can do a deal in Japan, then the rest of the TPPA will probably be concluded quite quickly.

“With Japan on his side, Obama could threaten Najib that Malaysia will lose out if it still puts forward sensitive issues in the TPPA negotiations.”

He also said Obama, who is arriving this Saturday, might capitalise on the disappearance of Flight MH370 and the kidnapping case in Sabah to press its case.

“The US might offer security enhancement as a trade-off if Malaysia compromises on its red lines in the TPPA. The US regime has always used trade and security hand in hand to twist arms of nations to accept its economic hegemony

“PSM fears that the weak Najib Tun Razak would submit to Obama’s request.”

Sivarajan urged Malaysians to “rise in protest” against the TPPA.

“The rakyat will have to send a clear message to Obama that the minority BN government does not have the mandate to conclude the TPPA when Malaysians are saying no to TPPA,” he said.

Klang MP Charles Santiago of DAP said Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would dictate how far the TPPA could go.

“If Abe make some compromises and allow the Americans to have better market access to Japan, Obama will definitely bring that to Malaysia and push hard for Malaysia to accept TPPA,” he told FMT.

He urged the government to stand firm and agree only to terms that would benefit Malaysia.

“Malaysia should only sign a trade agreement that favours Malaysia, not one that compromises our market access and holds the government to ransom,” he said, referring to the proposed investor-state dispute tribunal under the TPPA.

Sepang MP Mohamed Hanipa Maidin of PAS said Malaysia had lost its best opportunity to voluntarily exit the TPPA negotiations and was now being cornered to sign the pact.

“When you have the opportunity to withdraw, you should withdraw and listen to the voice of people,” he said in an interview with FMT.

“With Obama’s visit this weekend, TPPA will be a done deal.

“We don’t have a level playing field with the US. It is very difficult to say no in front of a superpower.”

Among other things, the TPPA seeks to extend medicine patents, strengthen intellectual property rights, allow participating counties to have better market access to one another and establish an international investor-state dispute tribunal.

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