KUALA LUMPUR: Several laws will need to be amended if Malaysia decides to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), said International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.
He said at least eight laws on labour will need amendments to bring about greater governance, right to freedom of association and the end of any forced labour before TPPA takes effect sometime in 2018.
But he stressed that the Government would not introduce new laws or amend the Federal Constitution.
“Most importantly, national interests and sensitive matters such as those to do with Bumiputra rights and Islam will not be compromised,” he said.
Mustapa was speaking to the media at a closed-door forum on TPPA yesterday.
A special parliamentary session to decide on Malaysia’s participation in the TPPA is scheduled for Jan 26 and 27, followed by a special session in the Senate on Jan 28.
According to Mustapa, TPPA would encourage better competition among local businesses while improving standards in the workforce.
He called for a balanced look at TPPA, saying it would provide local companies with massive business opportunities and enable them to compete globally.
“We cannot ignore the fact that our direct investments abroad amounted to RM601.6bil in the third quarter of last year,” he said.
Mustapa also noted that local car industry players, including Proton and Perodua, would not be greatly affected by TPPA because that market was already open and competitive now.
“We understand the need to protect local players and national projects but we must look for opportunities in order to be attractive to consumers,” he said.
Asked whether TPPA would allow for the dumping of goods from other countries, Mustapa said Malaysia was protected from this by the World Trade Organisation.
“We can take action if it occurs and it will be no different when we sign the TPPA,” he said.
TPPA is a trade agreement negotiated by 12 Pacific Rim countries on matters of economic policy, which must be ratified by all signatories.
Lack of disclosure during the negotiations, TPPA’s expansive scope and some reportedly controversial clauses in drafts have sparked controversy.
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