The public has been made aware that the “highly anticipated” Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) Project has been approved off and construction is expected to commence in 2016. To many people, constructing the HSR in Malaysia would symbolise that we are on par with tech-giants such as Japan and will validate our countries’ technological advancement. It comes as no surprise to us then that our government and lawmakers are enthusiastically supporting this project. According to a news feature, the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore HSR Project is said to be South-East Asia’s most ambitious infrastructure project and they have predicted that there will be an increase in the population of Gerbang Nusajaya and steady growth of the Iskandar Malaysia economic corridor.
However, in spite of this, CAP is against this mammoth tech project. We believe that the price of constructing the HSR is too high (RM40 billion) for our country to handle at this point in time.
The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) and Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) cautions Malaysia not to be deceived by US introduction of the Fast Track Bill. Malaysia is reminded not to make further concessions in the TPP without fast-track authority actually being granted by both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.
The last technical round of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement negotiations will be held next week in the USA. Malaysia is negotiating the TPP with 11 other countries including the USA and it is scheduled to be concluded at negotiations by Ministers of Trade next month.
We refer to the letter by Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam, chairman of Asli Center of Public Policy Studies, calling on the Malaysian Government to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). It is regrettable that Ramon and some members of the business community fail to comprehend the serious implications for our people and nation subsequent to signing the TPPA.
He warns that if we do not join the TPPA there will be “dire consequences” - no access to a new free trade area with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of over RM101 trillion; unable to break out of middle income trap; capacity to innovate, attract foreign direct investments, high technology, incomes, employment and quality of life will be seriously affected.
Individuals who have not analysed the TPP text in detail must be pragmatic and not call on the government to sign onto this agreement. Paul Krugman, an economics Nobel laureate, has called the economic case for the TPP weak, and if it does not happen it will be no big deal.
The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) is perturbed that those attending the lab sessions relating to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) are required to sign the Official Secrets Act (OSA) Declaration and Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA).
The Ministry of International Trade and Industry had invited CAP to participate in a town hall and lab session on the TPP held on 2nd and 3rd April 2015. The invitation letter states that these sessions are conducted to improve engagement and get inputs from various parties and that this process is consistent with the Governments’ aspiration to improve the level of transparency and accountability in negotiating the TPP agreement.
People are in uproar over the fact that even though the prices of petrol and diesel have decreased, the price of goods on the other hand have not. We at CAP can sympathize; after all we are also consumers and the cost of living has been steadily increasing. It is also frustrating that no one is able give a clear reason as to why the price of goods has not decreased. One thing we know for sure is that it is probably an interplay of many different factors that is keeping the price of goods high.