PETALING JAYA: It is best that the government postpone the ratification of the 11-nation Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) until all stakeholders in the country have agreed to the provisions, Warisan president Shafie Apdal said today.
The Semporna MP said an in-depth study on the pros and cons of the CPTPP within the current trade and investment context in Malaysia must also be done beforehand.
“I am of the view that the provisions in this mega trade pact must be reviewed with an emphasis on the need to achieve an agreement that is not only free, but fair,” he said in a statement after attending a meeting on Bumiputera economic issues in the peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak organised by the Malay Chamber of Commerce Malaysia.
Shafie said the negotiations that are to be finalised must also prioritise protection for small- and medium-sized enterprises to prevent them from being discriminated against in light of the supply of foreign goods in the Malaysian market.
He added that the country’s sovereignty must also be protected so that there are no provisions that may result in the country getting sued easily by international companies.
He said this particular issue was of concern, citing data from the Economic Planning Unit, which showed that equity held by foreigners had increased from 37.2% in 2011 to 45.3% in 2015.
“Ideally, trade policies that are set by the government should consider the need to increase the equity of locals.”
Over the last few months, economists and business groups have urged the government to expedite the ratification of the CPTPP, which Malaysia had agreed to in 2018.
Experts have said the ratification of the trade deal will help the country’s economic recovery.
The other members in the trade pact are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.