YB Wong Chen
Bumiputera Agenda and TPPA
Bernama reports that the Bumiputera agenda will not be impacted by the TPPA, says MITI.
I am against the TPPA for many reasons, but primarily on the competitive and sovereignty issues. I believe in Keynesian/social market economy model and as such a government must lead but allow the market to operate within the overall national strategy and social goals. I am definitely against neo-liberal capitalism that create massive inequality and allow rouge banks to wreak havoc in the real economy.
The developed countries that now push for TPPA, had all previously benefited from market protectionism. Now that they are developed, they sing a different tune of “free market” and now want us to compete with them without protectionism.
When I was at the ASEAN Human Rights meeting in Jakarta 2 weeks ago, I met both Thai and Indonesian MPs whom spoke harshly against “free trade” and explained how it actually impedes their developing countries. These MPs are not fringe but are from current and previous ruling governments. MPs from all sides of Indonesian and Thai politics, are united in agreement not to be part of the TPPA. In Malaysia, Najib is pursuing “national interests” by playing golf with Obama.
However, if the TPPA is pushed through by Najib (legally, he does not need Parliament approval), as a nation we will have to take the bitter medicine of free trade, buck up our business operations and compete. So, I am not sure where the protection of the Bumiputera agenda, sits in the overall context of TPPA’s neo-liberal philosophy of “free trade”?
More fundamentally, BN will have to do a lot of soul searching and explain why only the non-Bumiputera businesses are being told to face the challenges of TPPA. Politically, it will be interesting to see how MCA, Gerakan and MIC, explain to their core tycoon supporters what Najib has negotiated on their behalf.
In the weeks to come, as the texts are released, we shall be able to fully assess the TPPA impact on the overall Malaysian economy.
The said Bernama article is reproduced below:
International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed said the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) is the first free trade agreement to recognise Malaysia’s bumiputera agenda.
He said the government will continue to ensure the bumiputera agenda and rights of state governments is not impacted if the TPPA is signed.
“The bumiputera agenda has been recognised by our friends in the TPPA negotiations. Contracts reserved for bumiputeras will continue,” he added.
He said this at a session to clarify the TPPA, organised by the Kapten Hussein Leadership Academy in Kelana Jaya today.
Also present was Umno Youth chief and academy chairperson Khairy Jamaluddin, who is also Youth and Sports Minister.
Mustapa also stressed that bumiputeras are capable of competing at the international level.
“Mention oil and gas, and Petronas comes to mind. This company is a bumiputera company. Let us not downplay our abilities,” he said
The event was attended by about 100, including students and professionals.