More clout by signing TPPA early, says Wahid

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SHAH ALAM: Signing the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement early will benefit Malaysia by giving the country more influence on clauses in the agreement, says the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Abdul Wahid Omar.

“If Malaysia does not partake early on, we wouldn’t have the chance to debate and discuss the clauses within TPPA. As we know a lot of countries have already jumped aboard, such as Indonesia, Philippines and Korea. The more countries that join, the more difficult it will be for us to gain benefits,” he told reporters while attending the TPPA Summit in Shah Alam today.

The TPPA Summit was a joint effort by a movement called Bantah-TPPA and PAS-backed Kongres Rakyat. A number of panelists debated and discussed their concerns about TPPA, including Bantah-TPPA chief Nizam Mahshar and Kongres Rakyat chief Mohd Azmi Abdul Hamid.

Wahid Omar said that he was there to listen and note down issues brought up by the respective panelists. He had hoped to make a response to their concerns and “to speak a little as well but they were running out of time”. He said “lots of facts and issues” brought up were inaccurate.

Asked what the government would do about the inaccuracies, Wahid Omar said conferences on TPPA would be held in various states.

“Trade Minister Mustapa Mohamed has already had many conferences on the TPPA not just in Kuala Lumpur but in other states such as Penang and Terengganu. This will continue to happen to hopefully educate everyone one the issue. We also hope to be able to assure everyone in Parliament,” he said.

A peaceful protest against the TPPA is planned for Jan 23, days before the agreement is to be debated in Parliament. Bantah-TPPA deputy chairman Azlan Awang said that more details about the protest would be forthcoming soon.