Malaysia: Pacific 'free trade' deal slammed

About 200 members of the Gabungan Bantah FTA (Anti-FTA Coalition) braved the morning heat to rally against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) deal on July 16, claiming the controversial deal would lead to the colonisation of Malaysia.

The crowd, led by Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) president Mohd Nasir Hashim, gathered outside parliament while chanting slogans such as “America, go back, leave Malaysia”, and brandishing homemade placards that read “People before patents” and “Patients before profits”.

“TPPA is a modern form of colonisation, we will lose our sovereignty if the TPPA is signed!” declared Nasir.

“The TPPA is for American corporates and their cronies, and Malaysians will become the victims,” he said, to cheers from the crowd.

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The TPPA is an agreement that the US, as a leading negotiator, is hoping to ink with 11 countries to consolidate its role in developing a broader platform for trade liberalisation in the Asia-Pacific region.

The TPPA, which has been in negotiations since 2008, if signed would bind participants to rules on everything from food safety to medicine and internet behaviour.

Various groups — from political parties, NGOs to individual citizens including former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad — have opposed the trade pact.

Several representatives of the anti-TPPA movement then entered the parliament grounds to submit a memorandum to members of the parliamentary caucus on the TPPA.

The memorandum demanded that the negotiations on the TPPA be postponed to allow parliamentarians to debate the deal. It also called for a cost-benefit analysis to be made public.

[Abridged from Free Malaysia Today.]