TPPA: “What it means for Malaysia” Roundtable Discussion

On 26 November 2015, the Asian Strategy & Leadership Institute (ASLI) and the Centre of Public Policy Studies (CPPS) organised a roundtable discussion with the theme, “What does the Trans- Pacilic Agreement (TPPA) mean for Malaysia?” at the Royal Lake Club. The event was organised to review the benefits and impacts of the TPPA when Malaysia becomes part of it.

Approximately 50 participants attended the event comprising business leaders, academicians, and health experts, as well as various members of the media. Among distinguished speakers were Datuk J. Jayasiri, Deputy Secretary General at Ministry of International Trade and Industry of Malaysia (MITI); Ms Harjit Kaur from MlTl; Datuk Wira Jalilah Baba from MICCl; Tan Sri Dato Seri Dr. Mohd Ismail Merican from MAHSA University; and Prof. Rajah Rasiah from University of Malaya.

Datuk J. Jayasiri delivered the opening keynote address giving participants an overview of what the TPPA encompassed, detailing the processes of how it was negotiated and why it was important for Malaysia to be included. He gave explanations on several of the key issues behind the treaty and concluded by asserting that Malaysia has a lot to gain joining the trade agreement.

Ms. Harjit Kaur also argued that the TPPA was in Malaysia’s best interest and explained how the country could benefit economically and that it would be a mistake not to take part of it. Datuk Wira Jalilah Baba talked about the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), drawing parallels to how similar it was to ASEAN and TPPA. She described the various advantages and showed how Malaysians could benefits from both TPPA and RCEP. Tan Sri Dato Seri Dr. Mohd lsmail Merican focused his presentation on the sensitive issue of the pharmaceuticals. He pointed out the challenges Malaysians might face and how reforms will be necessary to prevent these risks. Professor Rajah Rasiah showed his concerns about some aspects of the agreement, as according to him, the TPPA will not offer many opportunities as many believed as some sectors will be confronted to new challenges.

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