Putrajaya wants trade pact to be fair to Malaysians

International Trade and Industry Minister Darell Leiking. (Bernama pic)

SINGAPORE: Malaysia is scrutinising the terms of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) to ensure it provides fair trade that will bring economic benefits to its people.

This was affirmed by International Trade and Industry Minister Darell Leiking who led the Malaysian delegation to the RCEP meeting during the 51st Asean Economic Ministers’ Meeting (AEM) here.

“We will make sure that whatever decision taken will benefit the people. Even though we encourage open trade, we also want fair trade for Malaysia,” he said in a statement here today.

RCEP is a proposed free-trade agreement between 10 Asean member countries, as well as six Asia Pacific countries, namely Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.

While Malaysia is celebrating its National Day, the Malaysian delegation to the 51st AEM in Singapore faced a daunting task in discussing the terms tof the agreement.

Apart from attending this meeting, the delegation which has been in the republic since Monday, also attended bilateral meetings with Asean counterparts and other partner countries in the regional organisation’s dialogue.

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad yesterday asserted that Malaysia would join RCEP only if it would benefit the country. A decision has yet to made.

He said this after meeting Asean business leaders in Kuala Lumpur at an event organised by the Asean Business Advisory Council in collaboration with the Asean Business Club.

In line with the prime minister’s decision, Darell also took the opportunity to exchange views with all Asean member states, besides exploring the terms laid out.

Despite his tight schedule, Darell met Malaysians who had settled or worked in Singapore at a dinner at Agrobazaar, Sultan Gate.