マハティール元首相がＴＰＰに対する警戒論を繰り返す中で、マレーシア政府がＴＰＰから離脱する可能性も出てきた。2013年8月28日付の『The Malaysian Reserve』は、「Malaysia may review TPP move」と題して次のように報じた。
Malaysia will review its commitment to the controversial Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement if studies it has commissioned find that the regional free trade agreement (FTA) is detrimental to sections of the Malaysian economy.
Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said following stiff opposition by Malaysian groups, the government has commissioned two studies to weigh the pros and cons of Malaysia joining the TPP.
He said the government will make a decision based on the findings of the two studies.
Mustapa said the studies, which will be handled by an “independent local” company, will examine whether the TPP membership would harm the interests of Bumiputera and small and medium enterprises.
“If there are more worries and concerns despite the studies and engagement, the government will certainly revise our stand on the signing of the agreement,” Mustapa said yesterday.
“The fact that we have embarked on the cost-benefit studies, clearly indicates our stand to listen to Malaysians and the various concerns raised against TPP.”
Mustapa said the findings of cost-benefit studies will be made public after the expected completion in three months. “The findings of the two cost-benefit analysis will play a major role on what would be our final stand. I would also like to reiterate that we are not bound by any timeline, as far as the TPP is concerned,” said Mustapa.
He said in the meantime, the government will remain committed to the negotiations for the TPP.
Mustapa said Malaysia has clearly indicated at the TPP round of talks, currently being held in Brunei, that more transparency in the discussion would be a key element in getting the agreement accepted by the population of the negotiating countries.
In the recent TPP Open Day held early August, the public had urged Ministry of International Trade and Industry to possess more transparency in the negotiations, to clearly show what is the country’s stand and progress in the pact development, Mustapa said.
“So, when our (MITI) officers come back from Brunei, the progress and update will be made public. It also enhances public engagement and understanding of the agreement,” he added.
Mustapa again gave assurance that Malaysia will not sign on the TPP at the expense of national interest.
During a forum on the TPP on Monday, former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad criticised the TPP and called it a controlled trade pact designed to serve the interests of the US and urged Malaysia to withdraw from the talks immediately.
The TPP negotiation was started in 2010 as a FTA between the following countries — the US, Mexico, Canada, Peru, Chile, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam and Japan, aiming to create a market with a population of 800 million with a combined gross domestic product of US$28 trillion.
The TPP consists of 29 chapters but local groups have opposed it as it is seen as compromising Malaysia ’s sovereignty as the Investor State Dispute Settlement chapter allows disputes between investors and the state to be adjudicated by international courts, thus bypassing Malaysian courts.
Another area in the TPP agreement which has received a lot of criticism is intellectual property rights where giant pharmaceutical multinational companies were asking for longer patent periods and a reduction in generic medications.
This would result in the cost of medications to spiral and one of the organisations which has been very vocal in opposing the TPP has been the Malaysian AIDS Council, as the non-generic drugs for AIDS are much more expensive than generic ones.