KUALA LUMPUR: Six ministers will be involved in winding up the parliamentary debate on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) on Wednesday.
Besides International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed (pic), who will take on the main task, the others will be Ministers in the Prime Minister’s Department Nancy Shukri and Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar, Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam and Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.
Thirty MPs from both sides took part in the special parliamentary debate on the motion on Malaysia’s involvement in the TPPA.
The Dewan Rakyat and Senate are expected to approve the motion. The deal is scheduled to be formally inked in New Zealand on Feb 4 by all 12 TPPA countries - Australia, Brunei, Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam - creating the biggest free trade area.
Together the countries form 40% of the world's economy.
Tabling the motion on Tuesday, Mustapa said Malaysia will make 26 amendments to 17 laws before ratifying TPPA.
These include the Customs Act 1967, Free Zone Act 1990, Trade Marks Act 1976, Patent Act 1983, Anti- Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001, and Copyright Act 1987.
Mustapa said the amendments will not affect the core national policies which included the bumiputra agenda.
Instead, it will put in place amiable practices relating to the environment, labour and intellectual property issues.
He argued that it was inacurate to say that existing Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) were sufficient for Malaysia.
Mustapa said the TPPA gives access to bigger markets.
“It is true, we have the Asean economic committee and we have 12 FTAs.
“However my opinion, it is wrong to say that these FTAs are sufficient for Malaysia,” he said in Parliament.
Mustapa said by signing the TPPA, Malaysia’s market will further expand especially in four countries that Malaysia does not have FTAs - the United States, Canada, Mexico and Peru.
"The analogy is simple, if I, as a Kelantanese want to have a tom yam business in Kelantan, God willing, I can survive.
"However if I choose to come to the Klang Valley, my market will be expanded and it will be a shame if I miss this opportunity.
"Similarly, with the TPPA, if we are given an opportunity to increase our business in the international market, it is not right that we reject such an opportunity,” he added.
Mustapa said the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) does not restrict the Government’s rights to supervise matters related to public health, safety and environment.
He added that the ISDS would also protect local investors overseas. Mustapa, however, took note of the grouses and weaknesses in the current ISDS mechanism.
He said some value-added process for ISDS had been negotiated in TPPA.
"This includes making it compulsory to have consultation and negotiation processes before any matter is brought to the international tribunal.
"The interpretation of the clauses under TPPA will be decided by the trade agreement partners via the TPPA Commission and the Tribunal must follow these interpretations,” stressed Mustapa.