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Govt urged to evaluate TPPA clauses

The Sun Daily, Malaysia

Govt urged to evaluate TPPA clauses

12 November 2014

By Muhammad Haniff Rahmat

KUALA LUMPUR: The government should evaluate the clauses in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) before they sign it , said the Malaysian Employers Federation.

According to MEF’s executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan the labour clause in the agreement is a point of contention as it requires participating countries to adhere to the core International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions.

The Article 2 ILO conventions 87, states that workers and employers, without distinction whatsoever, shall have the right to establish and, subject only to the rules of the organisation concerned, to join organisations of their own choosing without previous authorisation.

"Under the ILO conventions, all workers are free to form unions and they do not even have to register that union and that contradicts with Malaysia’s Trade Union Act 1959 which states that we need to seek permission from government to form a union," he said.

Meanwhile, MEF president Tan Sri Azman Shah Haron said any free trade agreement (FTA) should not include any ILO convention conditions on its agreement.

"Malaysia has signed 12 FTAs in the past and none of them have any labour conditions attached to them," he said.

He said MEF would welcome if the government signed the TPPA as it will brings billions of trade investment, however this labour clause will complicate the agreement.

"We have debated and discussed with relevant ministries and vested interest groups on how to overcome this clause. This (clause) is a stumbling block to the TPPA and we want it excluded from the agreement."

He pointed out that the government has come under much pressure from other countries to sign the agreement especially from the United States.