SHAH ALAM, June 7: The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement, an international free trade agreement to be signed by Malaysia, has been claimed to threaten public interest due to terms that are biased.
According to Lembah Pantai Parliamentary, Nurul Izzah Anwar, thorough the TPP, foreign companies are able to challenge national laws and domestic court rulings with the ISDS (investor-state dispute settlement) method.
This method allows them to circumvent state laws and regulations enacted by the Malaysian government, especially in issues of public interest such as natural resources, environmental protection and health policies.
In addition, TPP also has special provisions on violating Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) laws which also cover the medical sector.
Thus matter, said Nurul Izzah, can increase the cost of drug purchases be it by the government or private users.
“In addition, there are also additional provisions made to allow monitoring of internet users by Internet Service Providers (ISP).
“In fact, this action can be taken against users by disabling their internet access, and this will certainly restrict freedom and expression rights of the public,” explained Nurul Izzah Anwar in a media statement.
Nurul Izzah added that the government should implement laws to become some aspects of public interest before proceeding with this agreement.
“The existing laws related to the environment need to be strengthened in line with international standards to prevent any misuse of natural resources.
“Emulate best international practices to oppose the ISDS as strongly as possible, while incorporating best practices in the Trade Policy Statement,” said Nurul Izzah who is also the Vice-President for PKR.
She also urged for legislation to protect the interests of local internet users, thereby maintaining the freedom of information, as long as it does not violate safety laws.
In this regard, she suggested for a special parliamentary committee; consisting of professionals and experts, to be established to examine and re-examine all the terms of the TPP.
“The TPP agreement may have the spirit of free trade, but is it free trade for us and this country?” said Nurul Izzah.