Posted by Unknown | Posted on 11:03 PG
Posted: 21 Jul 2013 09:29 PM PDT
BY KAZI MAHMOOD & SATHISH GOVIND
KUALA LUMPUR, July 22 — There has to be greater transparency in the negotiations of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement as it would have long-term irreversible implications to Malaysia, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) VP Nurul Izzah Anwar said.
"We are still in the dark over many aspects of the negotiations and it would be appropriate for all segments of the population to know the full impact of the implications before Malaysia commits itself to the agreement," she told The Malaysian Reserve in Kuala Lumpur last Friday.
Nurul Izzah (picture) said her party was committed to free trade agreements but that they must be fair for Malaysians.
"There are aspects of the TPP that suggest that it is not fair and one-sided and would require greater discussions and debate from all quarters before committing to it," she said.
"The Malaysian government may be 'overzealous' in pursuing a membership in the TPP but the long-term implication must be weighed seriously."
Nurul Izzah pointed to the case of pharmaceuticals, where patents on medicines will be extended under the TPP which would prevent Malaysians enjoying the benefits of cheaper generic medicine.
She said many Malaysians will be deprived of cheaper healthcare, particularly terminally ill patients who would need to buy expensive medicines to treat diseases like AIDS or cancer.
"Cancer patients in Malaysia are already having difficulty availing medical facilities at the present cost, what more when the cost escalates," she said.
According to a source familiar with the TPP negotiations, there are still large areas of the agreement that have not achieved consensus and that the October deadline for its conclusion is unlikely to be met.
The source said chapters of the TPP that have yet to be concluded included intellectual property, environment and competition with state-owned enterprises.
The campaign against the TPP is taking an international flavour in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, where Japanese anti-TPP activists have also joined forces in demonstrating alongside Malaysian activists.
The 18th round of TPP negotiations is taking place in Kota Kinabalu, from July 15-24. — The Malaysian Reserve
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