Tuesday, November 10, 2015

TPPA: Mustapa To Be Held Responsible

A Kadir Jasin

سْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ "In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

I AM no fan of the United States of America, but I have great respect for International Trade and Industry Minister, (Datuk Seri) Mustapa Mohamed.

My last trip to the US, the land of hope and opportunity, where poverty rate in 2014 was 14.8 percent and 46.7 million people lived below poverty, was in 2002.

Two of my children attended university there and in 2002, when visiting one of them, I was held incommunicado at the Des Moines International Airport, Iowa, for almost four hours because my name is “Bin Jasin” and I bought my ticket cash. I was released only when the local FBI Station Chief confirmed that I was not on the US terrorist list.

Mustapa is a friend. He was a scholar when I first came to know him back in the 1980’s. He had just been appointed political secretary to then Finance Minister, Tun Daim Zainuddin.

He is one of the few “clean” politicians that I have had the good fortune of knowing in my 46-year career as a journalist. He is a committeeman, straight as an arrow and totally loyal to the boss.

Many may not know that back when he was serving Daim, he played an important role as a backroom operator in helping to expand the Bumiputera business community.

But that brilliant civil record is about to be put to the ultimate test as and when the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership Agreement (TPPA) comes into force. The agreement had been agreed upon last month but needs ratification of member countries. We have been promised that the agreement would be tabled for debate in the Parliament before we ratify it.

Mustapa (sixth from left) is our chief TPPA negotiator
Mustapa is our chief negotiator in the controversial and widely opposed agreement. If we fail to benefit tangibly from it or, worse still, if we lose, Mustapa has to bear the blame.

I will be the first to condemn him.

I don’t care much about the stance of Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Mappadulung Daeng Mattimung Karaeng Sanrobone) Mohd Najib Abdul Razak on the agreement.

His fascination with the US and his closeness to his golf buddy, President Barrack Obama, might have dulled his sensitivity to interest of the country. Also, he may not know a lot about TPPA.

Mohd Najib Golfing with Obama during last year's big floods
US the Biggest Winner

Parallel to the TPPA is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which the US has been negotiating with European Union since 2013.

These two transoceanic agreements would literally make the US the centre of the global, not just in trade but also in territorial sovereignty and defence.

Let us hope that Mustapa is telling us the truth and his assurances are well founded.

For now, the biggest and surest winner is the US. TPPA is the US answer to its dwindling position as an economic superpower. The US is under threat of losing its position as the world’s largest economy to China.

This is happening at the time when its military hegemony is being challenged by China and Russia. Some statistics have suggested that the US had already lost its economic dominance to China.

The TPPA, without China as a signatory, would once again bolster its dominance and help keep China at bay, at least temporarily.

What is not often known or taken cognizant of is the fact that the US is also the largest country territorially. The US landmass may not be the biggest in the world, but the Law of the Sea Conference gave the US a vast Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

Today, the US maintains sovereign rights over more marine areas than any other country in the world. Its underwater holdings totalled 4.69 million sq miles. Its closest rival, France has 3.93 million sq miles, followed by Australia 3.5 million sq miles, Russia 2.97 sq miles, UK 2.62 sq miles and New Zealand 2.59 sq miles.

The TPPA will also bolter the US industries. Many US industries are either dying or are undergoing massive structural changes. Pharmaceutical is among them. With ageing population and the growing consumers preference for biology-based medicines, the chemistry-based US pharmaceutical industry is losing its domestic market.

So one way of ensuring survival is to force the developing countries to ban generic medicines and produce patented ones. We may end up paying hefty royalties for their patents while their pharmaceutical giants gain unlimited access to our treasure trove of herbal plants and organisms.

Even the so-called concessions and exclusions supposedly given to the developing member countries are not a guarantee. They could be subjected to re-interpretation at the point of implementation.

Also it would be dangerous for us to side with the US and its allies in an agreement that does not include China. The US is not our largest trading partner. It comes fourth after Singapore, China and Japan.

Thus it serves us well be mindful of the promises Mustapa makes because even Americans, including Nobel Prize winner, Joseph Stiglitz, had warned about TPPA’s pitfalls for the developing countries. Read Here.



Zalman A said...

"He is one of the few “clean” politicians that I have had the good fortune of knowing in my 46-year career as a journalist. He is a committeeman, straight as an arrow and totally loyal to the boss."

If he is loyal to the current boss then can "straight as an arrow" still apply?

Silence is consent.

The Mappadulung Daeng Mattimung Karaeng Sanrobone no longer has "supporters", he only has accomplices.

Even silence is consent.

thegreatteadrinkerdownsouth said...

What are the alternatives for a trade-dependent and services economy like Malaysia?

To go it alone, while everyone one else tries to latch on to a "spaghetti bowl" of free trade agreements?

To opt out of the TPP and settle for RCEP? To hope that China's OBOR initiative can spin off something useful for Malaysia? To hope that the AEC is more substance than hype? To pin our hopes on a Asean-EU FTA? Or to trust that the WTO will get it's act together?

Let's face it. Foreign investors don't have to be in Malaysia. It's not a given "no brainer" for them when there are other economies competing for investments?

It's facile to criticise Mustapa. Can you appreciate that he was negotiating with a weak hand, given the state of the Malaysian economy and politics?

China has just signed a slew of agreements with Singapore. Japan has put more FDI into Singapore than it has into Malaysia. So, too the EU and the US.

Do you still that Malaysia offers a compelling "value proposition" for foreign investors?

zainal abidin awang kechik said...


Mustapa muhamed ni baik dan jujur orang nya..
MP UMNO YANG BACA AL QURAN Dalam perlimen Tok pa sorang je...

Saya yakin kepada Tok pa..
He got class


RD. said...

Thank You Dato AKJ for writing on TPPA.

"We have been promised that the agreement would be tabled for debate in the Parliament before we ratify it."

Looks like Malaysian are duped again and again by Najib's government.

I'm against TPPA and was very glad when told that it would be brought before the dewan. But now it seems that the falling ringgit and Najib's skeleton-in-the closet, had made our gomen 'toe the line' according to what the US wishes.

With the TPPA, Malaysia's relation with China and Russia too, would be estranged. Looking at whats happening in the world today due to US foreign policies, I think the world would be better-off, with China and Russia as the World's Sheriff.

Frankly, I'm against Najib, not only because of 1MDB's debt, the RM2.6 Bilion in his personal account or the wife's RM3 million, in hers. Definitely, jealousy is not one of them.

In our celebration of sort, when Pak Lah resigned, we failed to realize that the successor would be worst. On the first few days he became PM, we already had a glimpse, whats coming from the dimwit. He redesigned the coins, rendering havoc on the usage of vending and ticketing machines.
Maybe in prelude to his 1Malaysia ideology, he had completely erased the Malay identity from the coins without much fuss. No more gasing, congkak and Wau-bulan. All that was replaced by what looks-like 'bintang lima' petals of flowers. More conclusive, maybe?

One thing about the new coins though; they are attracted to magnetic field. The older coins must have been made of pure stainless steel which do not stick to magnets. Maybe, the new coins are made of cheaper material to compensate for the gold-colored finishing.
Whether or not the new coins are reliable and safe, time would tell.

The worst disaster that Najib had made was that submarine purchase when he was Defense Minister. Buta-buta, the Rakyat had to pay hundred of millions to 'orang-tengah' Razak Baginda, just to 'negotiate' with the French Sub-maker on behalf of Rakyat. Why the hell, did he not used civil-officers, only God knows.
Altantuya would surely not had the opportunity to infiltrate, sexually into the dealing, if Najib as Defense Minister then, had utilized government officers instead of Razak Baginda.
One thing is sure though: 'Altantuya' would come to haunt Najib and BN, come every GE, as long as Najib is the PM.

Unknown said...

Salam Datuk,

Najib is selling the country Lock..Stock and Barrel. He needs the US to protect him from being hauled to court...and the US loves corrupted leaders so they can call the shots.

We can only pray Najib's expiry date is soon.

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muring.com said...

Alhamdulillah...memang dia baik..baik saja belum menjamin apa yg dibuat itu betul dan menjamin kesejahteraan rakyat malaysia..

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Aku said...

Kadiag, salaam.

Kali ni Aku rasa nak kena kutip apa yg Zalman A 2.39pm tulih. Kalu "...he is totally loyal to the boss", dia tanya ...'then can "straight as an arrow" still apply?'

Lepaih tu Zalman A sambong...dia tu dah tak dak penyokong dah, yg dia ada hanyalah 'accomplices'...(tukang subahat).

Dan macam Pi'ee kata, kalau anak Pak (ada magna) Ali tu diam saja...magna setuju la tuu..!
Amacam Kadiag, betoi dak ?



RD. said...

Saja saja.

Your excessive hatred towards Kelantanese (or is it PAS) is showing your true colors. Is it because PAN was shunned by the Malays?
Please be careful with your angst. Or you might end-up just like the 'late' Omar Abdul Aziz or Din Melaka.

Don't be too hard-up about that break-up of DAP & PAS' unholy 'marriage of non-convenience'. Maybe you are too young to know the historical facts about both of them (PAS & DAP). To those who are already a voter in the mid-80s, that incestuous relationship in PR, especially between DAP and PAS, was just a disaster in the making.

PAS was an off-shoot from UMNO's religious people who wanted an Islamic State in its early days. Ibrahim Libya (Memali 1986) was a manifestation of that dream. Hudud is just a tool to garner vote in majority-Malay States. In 1982, some people in PAS even construed Haji Hadi speech as a 'decree' to render UMNO's members as infidels. That was because of UMNO alliance with moderate MCA, MIC and the non-muslim in Sabah and Sarawak. Of-course, DAP was their foremost sworn enemy. (UMNO however, regarded both PAS and DAP, as extremist).

DAP is definitely secular. Almost all its top leader are Evangelist. It's evangelistic young turks exploit churches to build cult-like followers. They emulate Pas' strategy and it works. If the two cults collided, we are doomed.

RD. said...

Another thing, Saja saja.

Please don't called yourself or other people, "Chinese pendatang".
You are borne here for generations, already. It's not their fault, that their great-great grand-father had to come here, looking for a greener pasture. It was the fault of the natives' great-great grand-father too, that they do not chased them away then, when they came.
Therefore, they have every right to be Malaysian citizen, if they respect the constitution and the Malay Rulers.

How many times had our PM reminded Malaysian that they are not 'pendatang' anymore?

If you still insist the use of that word, please re-phrase it as 'keturunan pendatang' or descendant of immigrants.

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1. Sdr RD, thank you for reminding Sdr saja saja (and orhers) that the correct term is "keturunan pendang" - the descendants of immigrants.

2. Those of us who believed that we are descendants of Adam (PBUH) and Eve (Adan and Hawa), we would have to acknowledge that we came from somewhere. We are all descendants of immigrants.

3. There's nothing wrong in that. Those who are Muslims are being called upon five times a day to perform the solat (prayer) and to seek success "on God's earth" and He made us of many peoples so that we make peace with each other.

4. As I often said, what's so terribly wrong about being immigrants and descendants of immigrants if you're successful and respected?

5. And what's the point of staying put and being sons and daughters of the soil if you're poor and disrespected?

Wallahuaklam. Thank you.

Orang Kampung said...

Assalamualaikum Dato,

Sekadar perkongsian maklumat bagi merujuk ulasan balas Dato 3:51 AM para 2 , al quran (maksud) menyatakan ," Wahai manusia ! Sesungguhnya Kami telah mencipta kamu daripada seorang lelaki dan seorang perempuan , kemudian Kami jadikan kamu berbangsa bangsa dan bersuku suku agar kamu saling mengenali (antara satu sama lain) Sesungguhnya yang paling mulia di antara kamu di sisi Allah ialah orang yang paling bertaqwa . Sesungguhnya Allah Maha Mengetahui lagi Maha Teliti " - al hujurat , 13.


Praxis said...

Good, enlightening post!

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MOKHTAR said...

Salam Datuk,

Lebih baik jadi pendatang atau dari keturunan pendatang apabila kita bolih hidup senang lena, kediaman berjuta2 ringgit,wang berjuta2 disimpan di off shore bank, boleh bermain golf dengan pemimpin2 orang asli tempatan ( son of the soil), boleh beli/ rasuah pemimpin2 orang asli, boleh mejemput pemimpin2 orang asli meraikan perayan di
holy places masing2..apa lagi yang keturunan pendatang mau? yang jadi PM dan DPM pun keturunan pendatang.. betul tak?

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1280 K Tmn Malik said...

Salam DAKJ,

Why not we seek an advice from Jho Low about TPPA? After all hes staying in US, probably he knows TPPA better than us here. Or perhaps, he can ask Miss Paris Hilton for further clarification on TPPA.

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zainal abidin awang kechik said...


jumbeaux said...

Salam Datuk

In my opinion Malaysia is not ready to maximise the opportunities of TPPA. At the same time, we will be opening our doors to stronger and more efficient competitors. We are risking ourselves to be reduced to mere consumers instead of creators and manufacturers when foreign players steps in. As it is, jobs are already flying out of the country as manufacturers consolidate their operations in China and other low cost countries.

Some may say that decades of protectionism has made local players comfortable and lazy. There is some truth to that but opening up to TPPA may not be the solution to the problem. There is too much at stake.

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About Me

My photo
I was born in 1947 in Kedah. I came from a rice farming family. I have been a journalist since 1969. I am the Editor-in-Chief of magazine publishing company, Berita Publishing Sdn Bhd. I was Group Editor NST Sdn Bhd and Group Editor-in-Chief of NSTP Bhd between 1988 and 2000. I write fortnightly column “Other Thots” in the Malaysian Business magazine, Kunta Kinte Original in Berita Harian and A Kadir Jasin Bercerita in Dewan Masyarakat. Books: Biar Putih Tulang (1998), Other Thots – Opinions & Observations 1992-2001 (2001), The Wings of an Eagle (2003), Mencari Dugalia Huso (2006), Damned That Thots (2006), Blogger (2006), PRU 2008-Rakyat Sahut Cabaran (2008), Komedi & Tragedi-Latest in Contemporary Malaysian Politics (2009) and Membangun Bangsa dengan Pena (2009).