Obama speaking at the joint press conference with Najib. - Reuters
PUTRAJAYA: US President Barack Obama has denied that Washington is 'bullying' Malaysia in the ongoing negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).
Instead, he said, he himself was being bullied by his own (Democratic) party on the pact while protests against the agreement was more due to "people being fearful of the future or have invested in the status quo."
"It is important for everybody to wait and see what is the (final) agreement before they jump into conclusions," he said in response to a question that Washington was bullying Kuala Lumpur in negotiations on the TPPA at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak here on Sunday.
He said it is understandable that there would be objections, protests, accusations of political conspiracies, which is true not only for the US and Malaysia, but for all the negotiating countries.
In looking ahead towards a conclusion of the TPPA negotiations, he said that "countries and companies must be ready to take the next leap."
Najib, in earlier comments, expressed confidence that the overall benefits of the TPPA would far outweigh the disadvantages of the pact, which is still being negotiated by 12 Pacific rim economies although there would be some losers and gainers.
He also said that Washington understands Malaysia's domestic sensitivities as evident during his bilateral talks with Obama earlier.
Obama also said the TPPA would benefit Malaysia in achieving high-income nation status by 2020.
Najib, who is also Finance Minister, said Malaysia was committed to the process of getting the acceptance of people as far as the TPPA was concerned.
The TPPA negotiation involved Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States and Vietnam.
Malaysia is the third leg of Obama's four-nation tour of Asia. Prior to Malaysia, the 44th American president had visited Japan and South Korea. He heads to the Philippines on Monday.
Obama's visit to Malaysia is the first by a sitting US President since President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1966. - Bernama
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