Wednesday, June 7

Government dithering over signing TPPA


KUCHING: Minister of Human Resources Datuk Richard Riot Jaem said that the government is holding back signing the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).

According to Riot, the decision was reached during a cabinet meeting on Sept 11.

“TPPA is a very sensitive issue. The government is slowing down the decision to collect input from all the government and private sectors,” said Riot at a press conference after the closing of the Trade Union Training on Leadership and Raconteur (Tutelar) 2013 seminar yesterday.

The Serian MP also said that the government wqs careful in signing any agreement, especially when it has received several negative feedback from related ministries, non-governmental organisations and the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC).

“Once the agreement is indeed signed and rectified, we must ensure that we are not at the losing end,” said Riot.

Meanwhile, a recent report by Bernama quoted MTUC president Khalid Atan as saying that the agreement would sideline many International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions on workers’ rights, thus exposing Malaysian workers to exploitation.

Khalid added that another area of concern is healthcare cost in Malaysia which increases 10 per cent annually thus would greatly burden the workers.

The MTUC president also said the agreement would also allow US firms to employ foreigners, thus suppressing wages and delaying the government’s plan to turn Malaysia into a high-income nation by 2020.

He said the agreement would also give US companies the right to sue the government through their dispute settlement mechanism.