Foreign Investors given Excessive Power, KPRU Insists to Debate Contents of TPPA Negotiations


SHAH ALAM, August 13: The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) would give excessive power to foreign investors in the name of ‘trade’ to a point of marginalising the interests of the country.

According to the Political Studies for Change (KPRU) think tank, foreign investors can challenge the government through legal means if the legal system or policies of a country affects their interests.

He said that this was due to the clause of the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) which rewards greater power and legal rights to foreign business entities or international companies.

In fact, KPRU says that the clause also gives foreign investors the right to claim financial compensation without limitations through international arbitration tribunals.

“What is the rationale for the government to go into an agreement which gives excessive power to foreign companies to challenge the laws and regulation of our country beyond domestic courts,” said KPRU.

Today, KPRU published an article entitled ‘Miti should debate report in Parliament on 23 September’ following the TPPA issue which has become a controversy of late.

The 18th TPPA negotiations was held in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, from 15 to 25 July, and further negotiations will be held in Brunei from 22 to 20 August.

In the article, KPRU was disappointed that the government opened doors and received the entry of high-risk industries without taking into consideration the people’s health and safety.

“Among the disappointing matter is the investment and entry of the Lynas rare earth plant in Gebeng, Kuantan; a gold mining plant which uses cyanide in Bukit Koman, Kuo Kuang in Pengerang and so on.

“Malaysia’s participation in the TPPA negotiations looks like it is surrendering the country into the hands of outsiders to determine its fate.

“Will the interests of the people prevail and looked after if the TPPA is signed and finalised?” he asked.

KPRU urged the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) to present the progress of the negotiations in the next Parliamentary session to appease the community’s concerns.

The think tank concern has been expressed by various parties, including government leaders, the opposition and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) because negotiations have been conducted in ‘secret’.

“When faced with controversy, the government should be more accountable to the Parliament and the people have the right to know the status of the negotiations as well as the country’s stand on the negotiations.

“Such reports are important to highlight and safeguard the interests of the country and the people,” he said.

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