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  • Writer's pictureYB Wong Chen

Updates on TPPA

6 May 2015

I received an urgent email from Sanya Reid. Sanya is an international trade lawyer and an authority on the subject of TPPA. She works for the South Centre, a body that advises developing countries on trade issues. Over the years, PKR has come to rely on her counsel and expertise.

Her email asked me to urgently contact all Pakatan Rakyat MPs to sign an open letter to stop the US government from putting a “certification process” provision into the TPPA. She is gathering signatures of lawmakers of all TPPA nations and working with Oxfam on this matter. I put up her request on the Pakatan Rakyat MPs whatsapp group.

The certification process provision is a somewhat notorious provision in international trade. After a trade agreement is signed, countries are required to pass and/or amend their local laws to comply with the agreement.

If the TPPA is signed with this provision, the US will have extraordinary powers to certify if the local laws passed or amended are up to the satisfaction of the US government. What this means is this provision allows the US to dictate how our laws are to be drafted. This is of course an unusual and extraordinary clause allowing US government to interfere in the legislative work of the Malaysian Parliament.

All PKR MPs and Senators signed on to the open letter objecting to this provision. PSM sole MP, Michael Jayakumar also signed. PAS leaders Hanipa and Siti Maria also signed. The rest of Pakatan Rakyat MPs, I am not sure.

Charles Santiago, Michael Jayakumar, Nurul Izzah Anwar, Dato Takiyudin and I are members of the Parliamentary Caucus on the TPPA.

12 May 2015

Tomorrow (Tuesday in the US), American lawmakers will vote to either give or reject fast-track approval (Trade Promotion Authority) for Obama to negotiate the TPPA. This vote is extremely important. If fast-track is granted, the TPPA may conclude very soon. If the fast-track is defeated, the TPPA will be shelved for at least until the new US President takes office in 2017.

It is a shame that the US has a Democrat President that is very pro-business and acting like a neo-liberal Republican.

Since the 2008 great financial crash and Obama taking office in 2009 until now, he has done little to reform the unscrupulous ways of the bankers and tycoons.

He has also allowed big businesses to continue to destroy the environment. Global warming has been left unchecked and reaching a critical phase. See this latest example of Arctic drilling in today’s New York Times:

On foreign policy, when he visited KL, he opted not to meet Anwar Ibrahim for fear of upsetting his golf buddy Najib. As they say, you can tell a lot about a person by the company he keeps. He wants us to encircle China with the TPPA and at the same time refuse to aid the Palestinian cause. His Middle East foreign policy has not worked and instead we live now in a world of extreme terrorism in the form of ISIS.

For all the hope he represented, Obama is acting like a Trojan of the rich and powerful.

I hope and pray Obama loses his fast-track vote. We need to push back this global sickness that is the neo-liberalism economics and move towards a fairer social market economy model.

13 May 2015

I was interviewed by BFM radio recently on the TPPA certification issue.


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