TPPA carve-out only for cronies, says MP
By FMT Reporters (14 January 2016) PETALING JAYA: Kelana Jaya MP Wong Chen has disputed a claim that some members of Pakatan Harapan were motivated by their liberal agenda in opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). At a press conference today, Wong referred to Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club Chairman Shahrir Samad’s recent statement that TPPA opponents were particularly unsatisfied with the agreement because the government had managed to ensure that it would not affect the Bumiputera agenda and would take into consideration concerns regarding halal products. Wong said the carve-out for the Bumiputra agenda would benefit only cronies of the power elite.
“On the surface, it would seem like the Bumiputera agenda is protected, but I urge Tan Sri Shahrir to read the agreement carefully and realise that only those with big contracts will be protected,” he said.
He noted that the exception given to the Malaysian government to provide for the Bumiputera agenda affected only construction contracts worth less than RM380 million. He explained that only cronies would have the capacity to engage in businesses worth up to RM380 million and that small Bumiputera contractors were not likely to face foreign competition even if there was no such carve-out.
If the exception in the TPPA were truly extended to Bumiputeras, he said, then the Majlis Tindakan Ekonomi Melayu Berhad (MTEM) would not be opposed to the agreement.
“Shahrir should go talk to MTEM and ask them why they’re still not satisfied,” he added. “They are unsatisfied because the TPPA is not helping the Bumiputeras. It’s helping the Bumiputera elite.”