MCA: Reveal more info on TPPA for public scrutiny

PETALING JAYA - The Government should reveal more information on the Trans-Pacific Part­nership Agreement (TPPA) for public scrutiny, said MCA.

According to MCA Young Professionals Bureau chairman Datuk Chua Tee Yong, greater measures of transparency are needed to determine whether TPPA is beneficial for Malaysia.

"I would suggest that the Government provide more information in terms of cost-benefit analysis on why it is crucial for Malaysia to join TPPA," he said in a statement.

TPPA is a free trade initiative sponsored by the United States that is intended to create a huge market of 800 million people with a combined GDP of US$27.5 trillion or RM85.25 trillion (S$33 trillion) for Malaysian goods and services.

Malaysia's current domestic market of 29.5 million people produces a GDP of US$300 billion (S$380 billion).

Chua lauded the Government for demanding to exclude tobacco and Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clauses from the TPPA, saying that the move was in the best interests of the rakyat and national sovereignty.

"While the ISDS clause would give foreign and local investors equal right in terms of business priorities, the areas of ISDS are very broad, and this could lead to abuse by opportunists," said Chua, who is also the Labis MP.

According to Chua, if the ISDS clause was not properly negotiated, it would pose a challenge to the country's sovereignty as it would have to comply with rules of fair and equitable treatment for foreign investors.

"It will also pose possible conflicts with state governments," he said.

Chua also called on the Government to observe the medicine patent issue in the TPPA.

"If the medicine patent is prolonged indefinitely, it will affect poor patients because of the rising cost of medicine."

Chua also pointed out that a supreme court in India had recently rejected a patent for a cancer drug because the patented drug was 16 times more expensive than the generic version.

"Likewise, the cost of medical subsidy would also balloon, thus straining the country's limited healthcare budget."

TPPA negotiators from 12 countries are now in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei for the 19th round of negotiations that will last until tomorrow.