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NGOs Urge Government to Hear the People’s Opinions before Implementing TPPA

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KUALA LUMPUR, July 19: Today, the Task Force Against TPPA (Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement) demanded for the Government to hold a forum before making a decision to sign the TPPA on 1st August.

The demand was made via a memorandum submitted by sex representatives of the task force at the entrance of Wisma Hasil Kuala Lumpur after the Friday prayers this afternoon.

The memorandum was accepted by the Industry Deputy Secretary General of the Ministry of International Trade Industry, Datuk Nik Rahmat Nik Taib.

According to some leaders of non-governmental organisations (NGO) participating in the task force, the forum should be held to enable the government to listen to the opinions of the majority through 45 NGO and its six affiliates.

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Among the NGOs include the Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC), Malaysian Youth Solidarity (SAMM), Student Solidarity Malaysia (SMM), the Malay Economic Action Council (MTEM), the Malaysian AIDS Council (MAC), Tamil Foundation Malaysia (TF), The KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCH), the Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia (PPIM) and others.

Previously, according to the MTUC President, Khalid Atan, the government did not only hide the details of the negotiation from public knowledge, but they also declined to hold negotiations with MTUC and other NGOs.

“It was a lie when they said that they invited MTUC to attend forums previously. The Malaysian External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) acted on its own, they have never held a forum like they said they did,” said Khalid.

Meanwhile, the Vice-President of the Malaysian Ikram Association (IKRAM), Said Ibrahim Sai Noh said that the TPPA may cause the countries that sign the agreement to lose the right to carry out policies that are in the interest of their respective citizens.

According to him, among the countries that have experienced this includes the Government of Ecuador which had to pay summons up to USD2.4 billion to investors and Canada was forced to lift the ban on a drug that had negative effects on the people.

“The Canadian Government previously took the measure to ban the drug because it was dangerous for Canadians, but they had to lift the ban after being sued by US investors because they signed the agreement,” he said.

In addition, the Malaysian Task Force Against TPPA has also outlined that the TPPA would restrict access to knowledge, it would practice pro-industry policies that are unfriendly to the environment, deny the rights of workers and adversely affect small and medium industries.

Earlier, at a peaceful rally protesting against the TPPA today, nearly 100 participants of the demonstration started their march from the Federal Territory Mosque to Wisma Hasil Kuala Lumpur.

The march ended at about 3.40pm and ended without incident.

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