Bernama | July 02, 2008
Parliament Approval Should Be Sought For Malaysia-US FTA, Says MP
KUALA LUMPUR, July 2 (Bernama) — A Member of Parliament Wednesday called on the government to table in Parliament the results of the Free Trade Agreement negotiations with the US, saying that the approval of the highest council in the country would symbolise the people’s consent to the deal.
Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed (BN-Pulai) said the US government itself would not be able to make any decision of its own as it has to table whatever foreign trade agreement to the US Congress for approval in the interest of its people.
"I do not agree with the government’s action to put Parliament in the backseat in the Malaysia-US trade negotiations as I can see that there are several specific reasons that can endanger the (country’s) political well-being and the people’s economy," he said when debating the motion on the Mid Term Review of the Ninth Malaysia Plan at the Dewan Rakyat Wednesday.
Nur Jazlan said it would be better if the negotiations are not placed under one ministry alone namely the Ministry of International Trade and Industry as the effects of the FTA negotiations in reality involve many ministries which are responsible for government policies.
He said the move would be important especially as the government has yet to make any cost versus benefit analysis so far, except on whether the deal will be profitable or not to Malaysia in the long run.
The FTA is also one-sided and gives more benefits to the US, he said, adding that it would also compromise the interest of the Bumiputeras in the country as the government would be forced to abandon the policy of helping Bumiputeras in the sectors covered under the deal.
Apart from that, he said the role of Government Linked Companies entrusted to develop the country will be jeopardised with the agreement especially in relation to government procurement, services and investment policies.
"I hope the Prime Minister and the Cabinet will reject the conditions of the agreement which will not be beneficial to the country or cancel the Malaysia-US FTA if the US still does not change its stand," he said.
He also suggested that the Finance Ministry set up an independent body such as Financial Ombudsman to monitor all forms of loans and public assistances from the government.
This will be in line with the practices of developed countries like the United Kingdom which has long used the system to monitor loans and aids given by the government to ensure that each help provided is of quality and is reaching the intended group.