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Nurul Izzah: Don’t bow down to pressure on TPP

The Malaysian Reserve, Malaysia

Nurul Izzah: Don’t bow down to pressure on TPP

30 July 2013

By Kazi Mahmood

Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) VP Nurul Izzah Anwar has accused the Ministry of International Trade and Industry of bowing down to pressure when it agreed to clauses on investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) in negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.

Nurul Izzah, who is the Opposition’s representative on the Parliamentary Caucus on the TPP, said she was shocked at how little information about the ISDS mechanism and Malaysia’s commitment to it was revealed during the 18th round of TPP negotiations in Sabah last week.

“There is a complete lack of information on the ISDS, but the understanding of our meetings with the stakeholders is that Malaysia has paved the way for the controversial ISDS to be imposed on us,” Nurul Izzah told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) in an interview.

The ISDS is one of the more non-trade related chapters of the secretive TPP.

Applied in other free trade agreements (FTAs), the ISDS allows foreign companies to bring sovereign nations to court for infringements that may range from copyright of medicines to claims for lost profit arising from new laws.

“With the ISDS, the Opposition members of the caucus are doubtful of the merits of the TPP,” Nurul Izzah said.

She said there are also other serious issues in the negotiations that should put the trade deal in doubt.

In the wake of various campaigns against the TPP by anti- TPP action groups including “Bantah TPP”, the government has called for a public hearing at Malaysia External Trade Development Corp in Kuala Lumpur to clear misconceptions about the TPP.

The TPP is a secretive, multinational trade agreement that lacks transparency, say anti- TPP activists, while governments defending the treaty are saying it is one of the most ambitious FTAs ever attempted.