Community organisations urge new Malaysian government to reconsider TPP-11
Wednesday 6 June 2018: Martin Khor from the Third World Network (TWN) and the Consumer Association of Penang, has urged the new Malaysian government to reconsider support for the TPP-11, and trade policies more generally.
The new Malaysian government is currently undertaking a comprehensive review of their economic policies. Khor points out that there were public protests in Malaysia over the TPP-11, which would ‘complicate and restrict the freedom and space of the Government to formulate, establish and revise policies’. The former government signed on to the TPP-11, but the Malaysian parliament has not yet passed the implementing legislation.
Khor notes that the TPP-11 contains ISDS, would restrict the Malaysian government’s ability to regulate in the public interest, and would make it more difficult for state-owned enterprises to secure government loans and equity. It would also give stronger monopoly rights to copyright and patent owners, which would privilege foreign companies over consumer rights.
The TPP-11 would require Malaysia to sign on to the UPOV 1991 international treaty, meaning that ‘Malaysian farmers would be obliged to pay for the [protected] seeds they use… instead of being able to save their own seeds to plant in the next season.’ It would lock in monopoly rights for pharmaceutical companies, delaying access to affordable medicines such as the generic medicine for Hepatitis C, a disease affecting half a million Malaysians. The Malaysian government recently lowered the price of Hepatitis C medicine, which acts as a cure 95% of the time, from RM300,000 to RM1,000. Similar policies to make medicines more affordable would face more obstacles if the TPP-11 were implemented.