MTN – Pejuang president Mukhriz Mahathir has questioned international trade and industry minister Azmin Ali for promoting the Trans-Pacific trade pact when the cost benefit analysis (CBA) has not been completed.
The Jerlun MP pointed out that a CBA was being carried out, adding that it was “concerning” that Azmin was seen promoting “only the good” about the pact, known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
“This gives the impression that the purpose of the CBA is only to support his premature conclusion that the CPTPP should be promptly ratified.
“The results of the CBA must be made known to the public and fully debated on in Parliament for a proper determination of whether the agreement will benefit Malaysians as a whole,” he said in a statement today.
Mukhriz said the CPTPP had over 30 chapters with more than 1,000 provisions, many of which would affect Malaysians across the board.
“Economists from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development have forecasted that the implementation of the CPTPP in Malaysia will result in overall job losses,” he said.
He said the CPTPP will increase the cost of production for farmers and diminish the tariffs on imports by 100%, making it more difficult to reduce the national debt and budget deficit.
Mukhriz said Putrajaya’s budget deficit and the national debt level were already under stress by spending for its Covid-19 response and economic recovery programmes.
“Both the Malaysian Employers Federation and the Malaysian Trades Union Congress have called for the government not to ratify the CPTPP,” he said, citing how the pact will have a negative impact on the job market.
On the CPTPP’s impact on pro-Bumiputera policies, Mukhriz said that contrary to Azmin’s arguments, Annex II does not reflect the status quo. Only applying to the investment chapter, Annex II benefits foreign investors and further restricts the government’s local investments and its benefits, he said.
“When Azmin speaks of Annex II, he is talking about exceptions to the provisions but these exceptions are not as extensive as he makes them out to be. The devil is in the details.
“These specific claims cannot be overcome by blanket claims that Bumiputera rights have been fully protected,” he said.
He said that as a result, any affirmative action policies, including those in favour of the Bumiputeras, may still be challenged by foreign investors from CPTPP parties.
On Sunday, Azmin was reported as saying that the CPTPP will provide a cut-off policy to protect the rights and interests of Bumiputeras as enshrined in the Federal Constitution when Malaysia signed the agreement in 2018.
“This provision is contained in Annex II which specifically mentions that Bumiputera rights and interests as guaranteed under the Federal Constitution will remain in the agreement.
“I have provided details of the provision in Annex II. I have also spoken in the Dewan Rakyat and denied allegations that the interests of Malays and Bumiputeras will be compromised, because that is not true,” he said. [FMT]
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