CPTPP must benefit Malaysia as well - PM

Syed Umar Ariff, Mohd Iskandar Ibrahim and Luqman Arif Abdul Karim

KUALA LUMPUR: The government is looking into including clauses and policies that benefit Malaysia in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

Prior to ratifying the agreement, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said efforts are being made by experts to discuss the CPTPP and ascertain whether it would be positive for the country or otherwise.

"We met twice over the past two weeks, and have identified areas that are not in our best interest. We need to renegotiate on such matters.

"The agreement signed by the previous government was binding. They have agreed to be members of the CPTPP.

"We have reviewed the agreement and found many areas that would lead to a loss to us, in our efforts to develop the country.

"We are a developing country, but there developed countries that are members in the CPTPP as well," Dr Mahathir said during a question-and-answer session at the Congress on Future of Bumiputera and the Nation 2018 on Saturday.

The session was moderated by Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali. Also present was Dr Mahathir's wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali and PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The CPTPP is another incarnation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), initiated by former United States President Barack Obama, which fell though the US withdrew in January 2017 under President Donald Trump.

Its other signatories are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

The free trade agreement was given a new lease of life by Japan. Together with Australia, they hosted several meetings and the agreement was later renamed the CPTPP.

Last month, Permatang Pauh member of parliament Nurul Izzah Anwar had urged the government to withdraw from ratifying CPTPP.

She said CPTPP would not add any benefit to the poor, terminally-ill, women and the government. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd