Malaysia the only country with opt-out clause in TPPA, says economist

Source: The Malaysian Insider

Asian Development Bank lead economist Jayant Menon says Malaysia can opt out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement without rectifying it in Parliament. – Reuters pic, January 8, 2016.

Malaysia is the only country to be granted an opt-out clause in a side letter to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), Asian Development Bank lead economist Jayant Menon said.

“This actually allows Malaysia to withdraw from the TPPA without even trying to rectify it in Parliament. No other member country can do that.

“How Malaysia was able to secure this, I don’t know. But I think International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed is a great negotiator,” he added, at the Asean Economic Forum today. Read more

TPPA to be signed in February with or without Malaysia, says minister

Source: The Malaysian Insider

Pic taken from FMT News

Pic taken from FMT News

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) will be signed in February, with or without Malaysia’s participation, says International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.

“We expect the signing to take place in February and we will table it in the Dewan Rakyat on January 27 and Dewan Negara on January 28 for voting,” he told reporters after hosting a town hall session with small and medium entrepreneurs (SMEs) today.

Earlier, it was announced that New Zealand, one of the 12 members of the TPPA, was expected to host the signing of the landmark deal.

The TPPA countries make up almost 40% of the world’s gross domestic product and a third of global trade. Read more

CJ says can’t judge Malaysian court decisions by ‘Western’ rights standards

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Palace_of_Justice_Putrajaya_840_620_465_100

Citing the Human Rights Commission Act 1999, Arifin pointed out that human rights in Malaysia is defined as fundamental liberties that are enshrined in Part 2 of the Federal Constitution. — File pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 8 — Critics should not measure local court decisions using “Western” human rights standards that may not always match Malaysian values, Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria said today.

Arifin noted that civil society has criticised some court decisions as “violating individual freedoms and curtailing freedom of speech and association”, but insisted that Western values and human rights norms cannot be the “ultimate yardstick” in Malaysia.

“In making these criticism, the standards applied by way of comparison are those of mature, Western orientated democracies.

“With respect, the application of Western norms which are not always in accordance with the values and culture of Malaysian society do not allow for a direct comparison of standards emanating from the West,” he said in his speech at the ceremonial opening of Malaysia’s Legal Year 2016.

Citing the Human Rights Commission Act 1999, Arifin pointed out that human rights in Malaysia is defined as fundamental liberties that are enshrined in Part 2 of the Federal Constitution.

He also said the Malaysian value system is found in the Rukun Negara, specifically the pledge by Malaysians to abide by the core values of “Belief in God, Loyalty to King and Country, Upholding the Constitution, Rule of Law and Good Behavior and Morality”.

“Therefore, the standards for measuring our adherence to human rights ought to be measured against these benchmarks,” he said. Read more

Bar: Court rulings suggest Putrajaya’s interests top Malaysians’ rights

Source: The Malay Mail Online

M. Indira Gandhi is pictured at the Court of Appeal, Putrajaya, December 30, 2015. ― Picture by Saw Siow Feng

M. Indira Gandhi is pictured at the Court of Appeal, Putrajaya, December 30, 2015. ― Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 8 — Rulings in key constitutional cases last year gave the impression that the government’s interests trump the rights of Malaysians to fundamental liberties, Malaysian Bar president Steven Thiru said today.

Steven noted the courts appeared to give wide interpretations to restrictions on Malaysians’ fundamental freedoms in these cases, leading to criticism that the judiciary has abandoned their duty.

“The apparent reluctance of the court to invalidate legislation or state enactments on constitutional grounds is worrying, and has given rise to the public perception that the interest of the state prevails over the constitutional rights of citizens.

“The willingness on the part of the courts to cede their jurisdiction has been decried as an abdication of responsibility,” he said in his speech at the ceremonial opening of Malaysia’s Legal Year 2016. Read more

MB wrong, bauxite mining killing our businesses, say locals

Source: The Malaysian Insider

Two children play near a bauxite mining site in Felda Bukit Goh, Kuantan. Villagers say their complaints to authorities over the pollution from mining activities have fallen on deaf ears. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Afif Abd Halim, January 8, 2016. Small busi

Small business operators and food vendors in Bukit Goh, Pahang said rampant bauxite mining there has severely affected their business, refuting the menteri besar’s claim that locals have benefited from the industry.

Motorcycle workshop owner Suhaizam Abdul Aziz, 45, said contrary to Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob’s statement that bauxite mining generated economic activities with spin-off effects in the state, it had only brought misery for locals.

“Who benefited from it? Not locals.

“If you look at the industry closely, the money went to outsiders. Most of the lorry drivers come from outside the state. Likewise, the workers. There were some locals but the ratio is small, like 50 foreigners to four locals,” said Suhaizam. Read more