Tangguhkan rundingan perjanjian Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA)

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Bentangkan rundingan TPPA untuk debat di Parlimen. Itulah seruan 37 badan-badan bukan kerajaan dalam suatu memorandum yang diserahkan kepada kerajaan.

TPP negotiations are being conducted in secret - Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
TPP negotiations are being conducted in secret – Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Memorandum (English translation below)

Kami mewakili pelbagai organisasi bukan kerajaan Malaysia /parti dan pihak-pihak yang berkepentingan amat bimbang tentang kesan Perjanjian Perdagangan Trans-Pasifik Partnership (TPPA) yang sedang dirundingkan di Kota Kinabalu, Sabah kini.

Isu ini telah diutarakan banyak kali kepada pihak Kerajaan Malaysia dan Kementerian Perdagangan Antarabangsa dan Industri khususnya sejak sebelum Pilihan Raya Umum ke-13. Banyak kebimbangan dan soalan juga telah dibangkitkan dan menyatakan secara lisan kepada menteri-menteri dan pegawai-pegawai kementerian tentang TPPA. Terdapat juga beberapa sesi konsultasi dan ‘taklimat’ antara ahli-ahli kementerian dan kami, tetapi malangnya sesi tersebut gagal memberikan apajua jawapan konklusif mengenai pendirian Kerajaan Malaysia yang dapat meyakinkan kami bahawa kepentingan rakyat akan terpelihara.

Kami disini sekali lagi menegaskan dan mengutarakan kesan berbahaya TPPA kepada rakyat Malaysia, seperti berikut:

Akses kepada perubatan

Organisasi organisasi kesihatan bukan sahaja di Malaysia tetapi di seluruh Asia Pasifik dan di tempat lain telah memberi amaran bahawa tuntutan harta intelek (IP) yang dicadangkan dalam TPPA bertujuan untuk memastikan pulangan yang besar bagi syarikat-syarikat multinasional farmaseutikal tetapi ianya akan menyebabkan harga ubatan melonjak untuk rakyat biasa .

Di negara kita pihak farmasi sendiri mengesyorkan ubat generik di mana 84.7 peratus daripada preskripsi yang dikeluarkan adalah untuk ubat generic ini. Maka dengan TPPA ini ianya akan menyekat dan melambatkan kemasukan ubat generik dalam pasaran Malaysia.

Akses kepada ubat generic ini akan menjadi penentu kepada ramai rakyat Malaysia samada mereka dapat sembuh daripada penyakit mereka ataupun tidak dan bagi sesetengah penyakit kritkal ianya merupakan persoalan hidup atau matinya seseorang pesakit .

Akses kepada ilmu tersekat

Bab harta intelek TPPA menimbulkan kemungkinan pelanggaran hak cipta data,dokumen, thesis, buku secara kecil-kecil juga disekat sepenuhnya. Di mana apajua salinan dan penyimpanan data ‘buffer’ sesuatu hasil tulisan yang mempunyai hakcipta akan diharamkan.

Ia juga akan menyekat apajua usaha untuk muatnaik buku/thesis/artikel ilmiah dan sebagainya dalam bentuk digital. Maka menghadkan akses awam kepada pendidikan digital, penyelidikan dan pengetahuan umum.

Sehingga kini, rakyat belum menerima apajua kepastian dan jaminan yang kepentingan akses maklumat kepada awam diimbangi dengan keperluan melindungi kerja-kerja Hak Intelek (IP), kreativiti dan inovasi kepada pencipta.

Cadangan rundingan sehingga kini lebih menjurus kepada menyekat akses ilmu dan maklumat untuk faedah orang ramai.

ISDS: Mencabar sistem perundangan dan kehakiman negara

Investor to State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) yang dicadangkan dalam TPPA ini akan membolehkan pelabur-pelabur asing untuk mencabar tindakan oleh kerajaan Malaysia – walaupun tindakan itu adalah satu keputusan undang-undang, peraturan atau keputusan mahkamah negara yang dilakukan demi kepentingan awam .

Pelabur akan diberikan kuasa dalam TPPA ini mempertikaikan keputusan Kerajaan Malaysia bahawa tindakan sedemikian telah atau akan menjejaskan pelaburan atau keuntungan mereka. Cabaran undang-undang yang dibuat di tribunal timbangtara antarabangsa, sekali gus membolehkan kepentingan asing untuk memintas sistem perundangan dan kehakiman domestik kita.

Pada hakikatnya, peruntukan ISDS memberi kuasa kepada syarikat-syarikat asing untuk mengabaikan dan mengatasi sistem kehakiman, undang-undang, Parlimen dan Perlembagaan Persekutuan.

Ia juga akan menjejaskan pembahagian kuasa Kerajaan Persekutuan-Kerajaan Negeri yang telah dibangunkan sejak beberapa dekad yang lalu di Malaysia.

Keputusan yang dibuat di tribunal timbangtara antarabangsa ISDS pada hakikatnya memberikan lebih banyak kuasa kepada para pelabur asing berbanding dengan syarikat-syarikat tempatan.

Kesan kepada warga pekerja

Liberalisasi ekonomi dibawah TPPA, iaitu penghapusan tariff/cukai impot untuk pelbagai sector pembuatan akan menjejaskan perdagangan dan kuasa saing kilang-kilang SME tempatan. Pengalaman di bawah perjanjian North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) dan juga di Latin America membuktikan kehilangan pekerjaan secara meluas diseluruh negara.

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Peruntukan-peruntukan yang dicadangkan dalam TPPA juga boleh melarang kerajaan daripada membuat undang-undang baru untuk memberikan perlindungan kepada pekerja-pekerja di Malaysia. Ia juga akan melarang kerajaan Malaysia dari meminta peruntukkan latihan, pemindahan teknologi atau pengambilan pekerja Malaysia daripada pelabur-pelabur asing ini .

TPPA boleh menghalang kerajaan Malaysia dari mengukuhkan undang-undang buruh, seperti memulakan atau meningkatkan gaji minimum atau untuk memperkenalkan undang-undang baru bagi pekerja-pekerja seperti kesihatan atau kemudahan cuti bersalin atau lain-lain faedah.

Alam sekitar

TPPA juga menuntut penyeragaman prosedur dan perundangan Malaysia dengan negara-negara maju demi memudahkan syarikat-syarikat besar multi nasional melabur dan meragut kekayaan sumber asli kita tanpa halangan. Justeru itu jika cukai ekspot balak tempatan disingkirkan maka ianya meningkatkan aktiviti pembalakan, pembersihan hutan dan perlombongan. Selain dari kemusnahan lebih alam sekitar, ianya akan menjejaskan industry pembuatan perabot domestic kerana perabot import akan menjadi kompetitif dengan penghapusan cukai ekspot balak.

Kesimpulannya

Terdapat banyak lagi bab-bab lain yang dicadangkan untuk TPPA yang secara jelas menunjukan siapakah pemenang jika perjanjian itu ditandatangani. Perjanjian TPPA dengan 12 negara kini sedang berlangsung pusingan ke-18nya di Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia.

Penyeragaman perundangan yang dituntut dalam TPPA ini akan mengikat tangan Kerajaan Malaysia untuk membuat keputusan polisi dan ruang undang-undang manakala menundukkan kepada kewajipan pelabur korporat asing.

TPPA mempunyai matlamat untuk memastikan bahawa syarikat-syarikat asing boleh mendapat manfaat sepenuhnya dijanjikan oleh pembukaan akses pasaran, dan pada masa yang sama menghapuskan kuasa Kerajaan untuk melindungi hak-hak sosial, ekonomi rakyat jelata.

Justeru itu kami , kami menuntut bahawa pihak Kerajaan Malaysia ;

1) Menangguhkan rundingan TPPA dengan segera.

2) Semua teks, kedudukan dan maklumat yang dirundingkan perlu dibentangkan dan dibahaskan di Parlimen. Ini bukan satu perjanjian perdagangan yang boleh diputuskan oleh kabinet tetapi ianya menjejaskan semua lapisan rakyat malaysia.

3) Menjalankan analisis kos manfaat TPPA kepada rakyat malaysia, dan memaklumkannya kepada rakyat. Demi memberi jaminan bagaimana hak-hak rakyat Malaysia untuk kesihatan, makanan dan kehidupan akan dilindungi di bawah TPPA itu.

Ditandatangani oleh:

  1. Malaysian Treatment Access and Advocacy Group Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
  2. PT Foundation
  3. JOASM- Jaringan Orang Asli Semananjung Malaysia
  4. Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas
  5. Gindol Initiative for Civil Society Borneo
  6. Malaysia Trade Union Congress (MTUC)
  7. UK-based Borneo Rights International ( BRI
  8. National Union of Bank Employees
  9. Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia
  10. Parti Sosialis Malaysia
  11. Malaysia Youth & Student Democratic Movement(DEMA)
  12. Pemuda Sosialis
  13. Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia (SMM)
  14. Gerakan Menuntut Pendidikan Percuma
  15. Persatuan Kebangsaan Pelajar Islam Malaysia(PKPIM)
  16. Gerakan Mahasiswa Pantai Timur (GEMPUR)
  17. Mahasiswa KEADILAN Malaysia
  18. Independant Student Front(INSTUF)
  19. Parti Rakyat Malaysia
  20. Community Development Centre
  21. Majlis Tindakan Ekonomi Melayu (MTEM)
  22. Aliran
  23. Malaysian Aids Council (MAC)
  24. Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM)
  25. Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture(MADPET)
  26. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor Center for Orang Asli Concerns
  27. Pergerakan Penyelidikan dan Pembangunan komuniti (KOMUNITI)
  28. Pertubuhan Aktivis Pengupayaan Insan (API)
  29. Pertubuhan Menangani Gejala Sosial Malaysia (UNGGAS Malaysia)
  30. Persatuan Ulamak Malaysia cawangan P.Pinang (PUMPP)
  31. Pertubuhan Kebajikan dan Pendidikan Jaringan Nelayan Pantai Semenanjung (JARING Pertubuhan Muafakat Warga Desa Negeri Kedah (Rural Citizens
  32. Badan Bertindak Petani Bantah TPPA
  33. Pertubuhan Kebajikan Sosial dan Kesihatin Prihatin Malaysia (PRIHATIN)
  34. National Indian Rights Action Team (NIAT)
  35. Islamic Renaisance Front
  36. Project Dialog
  37. Monitoring Sustainability of Globalization (MSN)

Translation

We are Malaysian non-governmental organisations and parties that are greatly concerned about the impact of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) on Malaysia.

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Many letters have been written about the TPPA to your office and the various ministries of your Cabinet before the 13th General Elections. Many concerns and questions have also been otherwise been raised and expressed verbally with the ministers and ministerial officials during those opportunities we have had to discuss with them about the TPPA. There have also been a number of ‘consultations’ and ‘briefings’ between members of the ministries and a number of civil society, trade and business associations.

Unfortunately, these consultations and briefings have – without exception – generally been ‘one-way’, procedural and ceremonial exercises involving the raising of concerns on our part, and assurances on the part of the ministry officials that our concerns are being taken into consideration. Our concerns and questions regarding the TPPA have, on the whole, remained unanswered or only poorly and inadequately addressed. There lies a gap between the questions and concerns raised, on the one hand, and the unconvincing replies and answers issued by ministry officials, on the other.

To reiterate and highlight the potentially dangerous impact that the TPPA holds for Malaysia, we restate below some of our main concerns:

Access to medicine

Health organisations not only in Malaysia but around the Asia-Pacific and elsewhere have warned that a number of measures relating to intellectual property (IP) have been proposed for the TPPA that seek to ensure the greatest returns for multinational corporations while making it more expensive for ordinary citizens to access affordable medicine and educational materials.

In a country where pharmacist-recommended generic medicines make up 84.7 per cent of prescriptions requested, such measures that will bar – when not delaying – the entry of generics into the market mean the difference between a healthy fulfilling life and a life of pain and sickness for some, and for others, the difference between life and death.

Access to affordable knowledge

Similarly, proposed measures for the intellectual property chapter of the TPPA pose a number of dangers: from restricting the small “buffer copies” that computers make in the process of moving data around, to preventing even legitimate use of ‘protected’ digital work and limiting public access to digitised education, research and cultural knowledge to criminalising small-scale copyright infringement.

The public has received no assurance that the TPPA would include the limitations and exceptions to intellectual property necessary to balance the interests of users and copyright owners. In other words, the proposals on the table currently do not reflect the balance so often propagated by proponents of intellectual property rights – between protecting such IP works and rewarding creativity and innovation, in general, and ensuring that society is able to access such knowledge and information for its benefit and use.

ISDS: An ‘alternative’ to national legal and judicial systems

The Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions proposed for the TPPA would allow foreign investors to challenge an action by the Malaysian government – even if such action were a law, regulation or court decision done in the public interest such as over a health or environmental concern – on the premise that such an action had or would affect their investment or profits. Such legal challenges are made at international arbitration tribunals, thereby allowing foreign interests to circumvent the domestic legal and judicial systems of the countries they have invested in.

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In effect, such ISDS provisions contained in proposals for the investment chapter of the TPPA effectively empowers foreign corporations to ignore and override Malaysia’s domestic judicial, legal and parliamentary systems, its Federal Constitution and the unique and historical federal-state division of powers that Malaysia has developed over the decades. Decisions made at international arbitration tribunals functioning under the ISDS system have, in fact, seen foreign investors being granted greater rights than are provided to domestic firms and investors under the national constitutions, laws and court systems of host countries.

Labour

Proposed provisions in the TPPA may prohibit governments from making new laws to give greater protection to workers in Malaysia than they currently do, by prohibiting the Malaysian government from requiring training or recruitment of Malaysians by foreign companies.

The TPPA may prevent the Malaysian government from strengthening its labour laws, such as instituting or raising minimum wage or from introducing new laws for workers such as new health and safety regulations or maternity or other benefits and entitlements.

Environment

Demands are being made on TPPA countries to agree to a uniform structure and set of procedures for their domestic decision- and policy-making that favour free market-based, “least burdensome” and industry self-regulation. The TPPA could also encourage more logging, forest clearing and mining by removing export taxes and prohibiting requirements compelling foreign companies to ‘value add’ to raw materials and convert them into products within Malaysia. Not only would this mean more environmental degradation, but there would be less incentive and support for local and domestic industries.

Conclusion

In addition to the concerns mentioned above, there are many other chapters that have been proposed for the TPPA that make it clear who the winners are if the deal is signed into agreement by the 12 TPPA countries to meet at the trade talks’ 18th round of negotiations in Sabah, Malaysia.

The regulatory coherence and transparency chapters, for example, will constrain the government’s regulatory decisions and impose cumulative constraints on its policy and legal decision-making space while subjecting it to obligations to foreign corporate investors and states.

To conclude, the obligations placed in the TPPA have the goal of ensuring that foreign corporations can reap the full benefits promised by the formal opening of market access, and – while imposing a laundry list of obligations on governments such as that of Malaysia – are freed from any social, economic or human rights responsibilities to the countries that they operate in.

To the Government of Malaysia, we demand that it suspends its involvement in the TPPA until:
– Halt all negotiations until all Malaysia’s proposals and position on all the chapters of the proposed negotiating text of the TPPA is presented to the rakyat and Parliament.
– Table and debate all texts, positions and information negotiated in Parliament. This is not a trade treaty only to be decided by cabinet. It affects all walks of the Malaysian public.
– Conduct a complete cost-benefit analysis of the TPPA for the Malaysian rakyat and make the findings public.
– Reveal how Malaysians’ rights to health, food and livelihood is to be protected under the TPPA.

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