MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku



10 APRIL 2024

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Kian Ming to Azmin: Convince us, don't take Harapan for granted in trade deals


Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob's government should not take Pakatan Harapan's support for granted with regard to the ratification of free trade agreements (FTA), said Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming.

Ong said even though Harapan and the government have signed a memorandum of understanding, it should still convince all MPs on the merits of the trade deals.

The MOU is an agreement for the opposition not to obstruct the government on critical legislation that could have a bearing on its survival, such as the budget, in exchange for institutional reforms.

"The process of explaining the benefits of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) to all MPs is an important test of the sincerity of the Keluarga Malaysia (Malaysian Family) government in the process of engagement.

"A good start will be the engagement process which the international trade and industry (Miti) minister (Azmin Ali) chooses to undertake in explaining the amendments to Malaysian laws in order to ratify Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

"I sincerely hope that the Miti minister will not take the support of Harapan MPs for granted with respect to FTA ratification just because we have signed the MOU with the government," Ong said.

With regard to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific (CPTPP), Ong said it was "worth joining from an economic perspective" but wanted the government to explain several amendments to the agreement.

To date, eight out of the 11 countries have already ratified the CPTPP including two of our Asean neighbours, namely Singapore and Vietnam. Only Malaysia, Brunei and Chile have yet to ratify the CPTPP.

"Since several amendments have to be passed in Parliament in order to ratify the CPTPP, the Miti minister has the responsibility of convincing the MPs from all parties that the positive impact of ratifying the CPTPP will outweigh the costs," said Ong, who is a DAP lawmaker.

He said this should include listing all amendments that need to be passed in Parliament and their impact.

Furthermore, he said the government should also reveal the cost-benefit analysis of new applicants to the CPTPP such as the UK, China and Taiwan.

He added that Malaysia should also look at the preliminary evidence of the positive economic impact from countries that have already ratified the CPTPP and the difference with countries that have yet to ratify the agreement.

The ratification of a trade deal does not have bearing on the government's survival which means Harapan has the option to vote against it.

Ismail Sabri has a thin majority, controlling 114 out of 220 MPs. - Mkini

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