Thursday, November 5, 2015

'High threshold in TPPA may see crony capitalism continue'

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) text unveiled after years of negotiations today shows that "crony capitalism" will continue in Malaysia, said PKR MP Wong Chen.
The Kelana Jaya MP said this is as the threshold Malaysia negotiated for government procurement contracts is among the highest in the 12 negotiating countries.
The Malaysian government negotiated a clause where construction services to the state worth RM80 million or less need not be given through competitive tender.
Chen said the total carve out is worth RM374 million.
"The current negotiated tender practices of the Najib administration will therefore set to continue even after TPPA is ratified.
"The Malaysian threshold is exceptionally high and I worry that this will encourage the culture of crony capitalism," he said in a statement.
Malaysia's threshold is more than double that of negotiating countries USA, Canada, Singapore, New Zealand, Peru, Chile, Brunei and Japan, who set theirs at RM30 million, he said.
The only negotiating nation with a higher threshold for construction services is Vietnam at RM387 million.
Anti-TPPA groups among others raised concern that the agreement could hinder the state's affirmative action policies, including in government procurement.
This could hurt bumiputera contractors, who currently enjoy preferences in state procurement.
Other concerns include the price of medication.
Wong said the party will require time to go through the volumnious TPPA agreement, which is 600 pages long not including annexures and side letters.
As such he appeals to interested lawyers to volunteer their services to comb through the agreement, before it is tabled in Parliament.
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