Bersih 2.0: Tolak TPPA demi memelihara institusi negara, pembangunan demokratiknya

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Bersih 2.0 menyeru semua Ahli Parlimen tanpa mengira spektrum politik untuk menolak Perjanjian TPPA serta memberi isyarat jelas untuk mempertahankan kedaulatan institusi-institusi di Malaysia.

Pada 29-30 Ogos 2015, ratusan ribu rakyat Malaysia telah menuntut penambahbaikan institusi demi mengukuhkan demokrasi berparlimen serta menyelamatkan ekonomi.

Pun begitu, kurang enam bulan kemudian, kerajaan Malaysia menandatangani sebuah perjanjian yang akan menjejaskan ekonomi setempat sementara memberi kesan buruk terhadap kemampuan institusi awam dalam melaksanakan tuntutan rakyat.

Menjejaskan hak demokratik rakyat untuk menentukan polisi awam

Hak asasi rakyat dalam sebuah negara demokratik ialah keterlibatan langsung mereka dalam pembuatan dasar melalui pilihanraya dan interaksi dengan wakil-wakil rakyat. Demokrasi bergantung kepada kebolehan pengundi untuk menuntut kebertanggungjawaban kerajaan dan supaya kerajaan yang dilantik melaksanakan dasar demi kepentingan rakyat.

Mekanisme investor-state dispute settlement dalam TPPA bakal mencabar tunjang utama proses demokratik ini. Risiko diambil tindakan undang-undang oleh syarikat multinasional telah pun dirasai di Malaysia apabila kerajaan memilih untuk menunggu keputusan kes Philip Morris vs Australia sebelum membuat keputusan melaksanakan plain-packaging. Pasca TPPA, kerajaan Malaysia akan takut-takut untuk mewujudkan undang-undang yang berkepentingan rakyat dan ini akan mengakibatkan hak-hak demokratik rakyat Malaysia dikurangkan.

Bersih 2.0 terkejut bahawa Persatuan Pengusaha Kecil dan Sederhana Malaysia telah mendapati bahawa hampir 30% syarikat IKS mungkin tutup kedai akibat daripada TPPA manakala kehilangan pekerjaan di negara-negara anggota TPPA boleh mencecah sehingga 771,000.

Sekiranya kerajaan Malaysia melaksanakan dasar-dasar yang membetulkan kesan-kesan ini, rakyat berkemungkinan menanggung kos tindakan undang-undang sekiranya kerajaan disaman oleh syarikat asing. Rakyat Malaysia mempunyai hak demokratik untuk menentukan hala tuju Malaysia, melalui peti undi, Parlimen dan mahkamah. TPPA mengubah hak demokratik ini.

Melemahkan kedaulatan negara

TPPA melemahkan Parlimen dan mengehadkan kemampuannya menggubal undang-undang. Dengan cara yang sama, ia mengehadkan badan-badan eksekutif, termasuk negeri-negeri daripada melaksanakan dasar-dasarnya. TPPA juga memenjara mahkamah, dan membenarkan keputusan yang telah dibuat mahkamah tertinggi negara dicabar oleh syarikat-syarikat asing.

Rakyat biasa tidak mempunyai akses kepada hak ini. Ini mencabul hak kesetaraan seperti yang termaktub di dalam Perlembagaan Persekutuan dan menjadikan rakyat Malaysia warga kelas kedua berbanding entiti asing.

Bukan saja TPPA membuang kuasa membuat dasar daripada kerajaan, ia memindahkan kuasa badan-badan negara untuk menjadi pengantara pertikaian antara syarikat asing dan negara ke mahkamah arbitrasi antarabangsa, yang tidak memiliki sistem semak imbang terhadap salahguna sistem.

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Daripada mengambil jalan mudah, Bersih 2.0 menuntut kerajaan untuk memperbaiki sistem mahkamah serta menangani dakwaan rasuah dan berat sebelah dalam sistem undang-undang negara. Akses keadilan adalah sangat penting bagi menarik pelabur tempatan dan antarabangsa; justeru badan kehakiman negara mesti diperkasa demi menyokong keperluan ini.

Bersih 2.0 mengulangi gesaan Pelapor Khas Pertubuhan Bangsa-bangsa Bersatu Alfred-Maurice de Zayas untuk memansuhkan mekanisme ISDS dalam perjanjian-perjanjian dagang, dan sebaliknya meletakkan pertikaian dagang di dalam bidang kuasa setempat.

Kurangnya ketelusan

Rundingan TPPA telah gagal menepati standard ketelusan. Teksnya didedahkan kepada awam pada 5 November 2015 manakala perjanjian tersebut diundi di Parlimen pada 26 Januari 2016, justeru memberikan orang ramai hanya tiga bulan untuk menghadam 6,000 muka surat yang mengandungi lebih dua juta jargon undang-undang yang rumit.

Ini sekali lagi bertentangan dengan cadangan De Zayas, yang berhujah bahawa negara-negara mesti memastikan parlimen, institusi hak asasi manusia dan para ombudsman dilibatkan pada setiap tahap perjanjian dagang.

Melihat kepada perkara ini, Bersih 2.0 menyokong protes Anti-TPPA pada 23 Januari dan mengajak kesemua penyokong perhimpunan Bersih 1,2,3 dan 4 menyertai kami di Dataran Merdeka pada jam 2 petang.

Rakyat Malaysia mesti melawan sebarang usaha, dari dalam mahupun luar negara, yang mahu mencabar hak rakyat untuk menentukan masa depan negara.

Jawatankuasa Pemandu Bersih 2.0, yang terdiri daripada:

Pengerusi: Maria Chin Abdullah; Timbalan Pengerusi: Shahrul Aman Mohd Saari; Bendahari: Thomas Fann; wakil kebangsaan: Ng Geok Chee, Farhana binti Abdul Halim dan Fadiah Nadwa Fikri; naib pengerusi: Ann Teo (Sarawak), Ong Lai Mun (Semenanjung Selatan), Jay Jay Denis (Semenanjung Tengah) dan Dato’ Dr Toh Kin Woon (Semenanjung Utara).


 

Parliament must reject the TPPA to protect Malaysia’s institutions and democratic development

Bersih 2.0 calls on members of parliament across the political spectrum to reject the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement and signal a clear commitment to protecting the sovereignty of Malaysia’s institutions.

On 29-30 August 2015, hundreds of thousands of Malaysians demanded institutional reforms to strengthen parliamentary democracy and save the economy. Yet, less than six months later, the Malaysian government signed an agreement that will dent our local economy while also having devastating effects on the ability of our public institutions to implement the demands of the rakyat.

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Undermining the democratic right of the rakyat to direct public policy

A fundamental right of citizens in a democratic country is their active participation in decision-making through elections and engagement with elected representatives. Democracy depends on the ability of voters to hold the government accountable and for the elected government to enact policies in the interest of the people.

The investor-state dispute settlement mechanism in the TPP agreement will challenge the very essence of these democratic processes. The very risk of being sued by multinational corporations has already been felt in Malaysia as the government opted to wait on the Philip Morris vs. Australia dispute before deciding on whether it should implement plain-packaging.

After the TPPA, the Malaysian government would live in fear to legislate laws in the public interest, and this will result in the democratic rights of the people of Malaysia being reduced.

Bersih 2.0 is alarmed that the Malaysian SME Association has found up to 30% of Malaysia’s SMEs might close as a result of the TPP agreement, and job losses in TPP countries could reach 771,000. Yet, if the Malaysian government adopts policies to correct these consequences, the rakyat will bear the cost of legal action if Malaysia is sued by a foreign corporation.

Malaysians have the democratic right to determine the nation’s direction, through the ballot box, Parliament and the courts. The TPP agreement challenges this democratic right.

Undermining our national sovereignty

The TPP agreement clips Parliament’s wings and limits its ability to legislate. In the same manner, it puts a straitjacket on the executive body, including States, to implement its policies.

Similarly, the TPP agreement cages our courts and allows decisions by the highest court in Malaysia to be challenged by only private foreign corporations.

Ordinary Malaysians do not have access to this right. This violates the right to equality as enshrined in our Federal Constitution as it renders Malaysians as second class to foreign entities.

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Not only does the TPP agreement remove the policy-making power of elected governments, it transfers the powers of Malaysia’s institutions to mediate between international corporations and the state to international arbitration courts, which lack the checks and balances against abuse of the system.

Instead of taking the easy way out, Bersih 2.0 urges the government to improve Malaysia’s local courts and tackle the allegations of corruption and bias in our legal system. Access to justice is crucial to attract local and foreign investment, and Malaysia’s judiciary should be strengthened to support this.

Bersih 2.0 reiterates the call by the United Nations Special Rapporteur Alfred-Maurice de Zayas to abolish ISDS mechanisms in trade agreements and instead subject investment disputes to national jurisdictions.

Lacking transparency

The TPP agreement negotiations failed to live up to any standard of transparency. The text was made public on 5 November 2015, and the agreement was voted on in Parliament on 26 January 2016, giving the public three months to digest 6000 pages containing more than two million words full of legal jargon and complexities.

This again, goes against the recommendations of De Zayas, who argues states should ensure parliaments, national human rights institutions and ombudspersons are involved in all stages of trade agreements.

In view of this, Bersih 2.0 supported the Anti-TPP agreement protest on 23 January and urged all supporters of the Bersih 1, 2, 3 and 4 rallies to join us at Dataran Merdeka at 2pm.

Malaysians must fight against any attempt, foreign or domestic, to challenge the sovereign right of the rakyat to determine our future.

Steering Committee of Bersih 2.0 comprising:

Chairperson: Maria Chin Abdullah; Deputy Chairperson: Shahrul Aman Mohd Saari; Treasurer: Thomas Fann; National Representatives: Ng Geok Chee, Farhana binti Abdul Halim and Fadiah Nadwa Fikri; Vice Chairs: Ann Teo (Sarawak), Ong Lai Mun (South Peninsula), Jay Jay Denis (Central Peninsula) and Dato’ Dr Toh Kin Woon (North Peninsula).

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