KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is free to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) even after endorsing it next month, said Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.
The International Trade and Industry Minister said Malaysia could exit the deal without having to pay any penalty, as stipulated in Chapter 30 of the proposed agreement.
“If the agreement is detrimental to the country, we can always scram after giving a six-month notice,” he said when briefing on TPPA costs and benefits here Sunday.
Mustapa said this to allay fear that the controversial deal would put Malaysia at the losing end.
“There are pros and cons. Compared to the time when the 12-page Pangkor Treaty was signed in 1874 where the nation was sold out (to British imperialism), we are smarter now.
“We will make sure that TPPA will be a win-win deal,” he said, adding that Malaysia was not being forced to endorse the agreement drawn by the US with 11 other countries.
However, Mustapa said the 595-page TPPA that came with an additional 5,755-page long appendix should not be viewed as “Aladdin’s magic lamp” that could strengthen the Malaysian ringgit and economy.
“There is no guarantee that the ringgit would appreciate after signing the TPPA,” he said.
If the TPPA is ratified, Class A bumiputra contractors would have to compete with companies from participating countries to bid for projects exceeding SDR 63mil (RM350mil).
SDR is an international reserve asset created by the International Monetary Fund in 1969 to supplement official reserves of member countries.
TPPA opens access to new markets in Mexico, Canada, Peru and US, Mustapa said, adding that even the World Bank had affirmed that the agreement would be beneficial to Vietnam and Malaysia.
He said other benefits of the TPPA include lowering import duty, and helping small and medium industries to compete.