Activists against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreements (TPPA) have told Malaysia to walk out of the negotiations due to the many "Red Lines" which may not be accepted by the United States.

NONEConsumer Association of Penang (CAP) President SM Mohamed Idris (right) said civil society groups have "grave doubts" that US would accept the Red Lines as past experience with other countries show.

"Walk out from the negotiations as other countries too have withdrawn from previous US Free Trade Agreements negotiations," said Idris, in a press conference today in his office.

"Malaysia's main concern and priority should be the interest of the population at large, and not to serve corporate or commercial interests," he added.

The Red Lines was issued by civil society groups including CAP and Sahabat Alam Malaysia on Aug 1, at the International Trade Ministry's open day and invitation to provide feedback on the matter.

The ‘Red Lines’ cover subjects of the TPPA including goods, services, investment, financial services, telecommunications, government procurement, competition and state-owned enterprises, intellectual property rights, public health, food safety and labelling.

The feedback was sent to all cabinet ministers and Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on Aug 12.

Idris said out of 63 countries which have started USFTA negotiations previously, 43 had walked away when they realised the provisions the US was insisting on were not in their national interest.

This included Malaysia, which was then under former premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
According to reports, the cabinet then had 58 Red Lines, based on what the US insisted on, Idris said.

"A comparison of all past US FTAs shows that the US has a strong template and that perhaps only five percent of the FTA text it proposes can be changed," Idris explained.

"Other countries negotiating USFTAs often realise that the inflexible US template does not suit them and, having started the USFTA negotiations, do not complete them," he added.

~ Malaysiakini