TPP: The Ratification Race is On

Source: The Diplomat

All eyes will be on the United States (and Japan), which can make or break the massive free trade agreement.

Image Credit: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza; taken from The Diplomat website.

Image Credit: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza; taken from The Diplomat website.

With the signing ceremony in Auckland, New Zealand today, the Trans-Pacific Partnership has taken a significant, although symbolic, step forward. The text agreed upon in October 2015 was reached after five years of formal negotiations, which themselves grew out of U.S. negotiations with the four members of the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (Brunei, Chile, Singapore, New Zealand). The TPP includes 12 states (Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam) which together represent nearly 40 percent of global GDP and a third of world trade. The agreement is perhaps the most comprehensive, if not longest, free trade agreement ever concocted.

At the signing ceremony, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key called the signing “an important step” but noted that the the agreement “is still just a piece of paper, or rather over 16,000 pieces of paper, until it actually comes into force.” Read more

Is Malaysia taking Syrian refugees or migrants? – Aslam Abd Jalil

Source: The Malaysian Insider

BY ASLAM ABD JALIL

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak made a very bold statement about taking Syrian refugees as part of Malaysia’s commitment to mitigate the world refugee crisis.

At the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly last October, he stated that Malaysia would do its share, and open its doors to 3,000 Syrian refugees over the next three years.

The first batch of two families of eight Syrian refugees arrived in Malaysia two months later.

Najib’s wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, followed suit in helping the Syrian refugee children and women in Lebanon and Jordan, donating RM2.5 million on behalf of Global Children’s Wellbeing Fund (GCWF) and Welfare Association of the Wives of Ministers and Deputy Ministers (Bakti) this week. Read more