Bauxite mining moratorium could land Malaysia in trouble under TPP, says law professor

Source: The Malaysian Insider

If Malaysia has signed the TPPA, foreign companies can take action against intervention of business activities, for example the bauxite mining moratorium. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Afif Abd Halim, January 9, 2016.

The Malaysian government could be sued by foreign corporations if it intervened in their business activities under the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, a Universiti Malaya law professor said, using as an example the moratorium on bauxite mining in Pahang to make his point.

Law expert, Prof Gurdial Sing Nijar said the Malaysian government would be hampered in taking counter-legal action as the agreement would limit what a government could do in such cases.

This can only happen, however, if the bauxite mines that are causing pollution woes in Kuantan, Pahang, are owned by foreign companies, and if Malaysia joins the trade pact.

“Imagine if the bauxite mines are owned by foreign corporations and the TPPA is signed.

“And look at Lynas, if you want to impose some restrictions, will our government be in the position to tell them that our people’s lives and health are affected and say we want to stop you. That is the question,” Gurdial said at the TPP Summit 2016 organised by groups against the trade deal – Bantah TPPA movement and Kongres Rakyat.

“If (the government) can answer this question by saying yes,… then some of us will be happy to withdraw our opposition.” Read more

ISDS awards are no small matter – Gurdial Singh Nijar

Source: The SunDaily

(Deputy President, HAKAM)

tppa_graphic_bahasa_101015NEGOTIATE for better terms” (Letters, Nov 19) raises several points in reference to my article, “TPPA, the rakyat and democracy” (Law Speak, Nov 2). Particularly targeted is my concern of the ISDS – the investor state dispute settlement provision in the TPPA. Let me deal with the main points raised.

ISDS as a form of dispute resolution has been around for some time, particularly in international trade agreements

Yes, this is true. Indeed it appears in several international investment treaties, perhaps more than 3,000. But it has been heavily criticised. Why? Because experience with the way these clauses have been interpreted shows its deleterious effects on the country sued and its citizenry. As recently as June this year a UN experts group concluded that “the experience of decades related arbitrations conducted before ISDS tribunals … demonstrates that the regulatory function of many states and their ability to legislate in the public interest have been put at risk”.

Look at the examples – to pick a few: Germany had to dilute its environmental standards in the face of a US$2 billion action against it by a Swedish energy giant restricting the use and discharge of cooling water for a coal-fired plant on the banks of River Elbe, with disastrous impacts on the river and its wildlife. The same company also launched a US$4.6 billion action when Germany phased out nuclear power plants following the Fukushima disaster. Argentina had to pay over a billion US dollars in compensation to international utility companies – for freezing the high energy and water bills to protect its people.

You see, the point is that the reach of the TPPA for which a government can be sued is extraordinarily far reaching. Read more

Statement of Mr. Alfred-Maurice de Zayas Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order at the Human Rights Council 30th Session

Source: The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

Statement of Mr. Alfred-Maurice de Zayas Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order at the Human Rights Council 30th Session

Geneva, 16 September 2015

Mr. President,
Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Pursuant to Human Rights Council resolutions 18/6, 21/9, 25/15 and 27/9, I have identified in my prior reports challenges to the realization of a democratic and equitable international order, including lack of transparency and accountability, absence of democratic participation in domestic and global decision-making, asymmetric economic, financial and trade practices, military expenditures and denial of self-determination.

In this report, I address the challenge to the international order posed by certain activities of investors and transnational corporations that entail much more than interference in the regulatory space of States but actually constitute an attack on the very essence of sovereignty and self-determination, which are founding principles of the United Nations. Read more