Consumers Association of Penang

Giving voice to the little people...since 1970

The Secret Corporate Takeover

By Joseph E. Stiglitz

NEW YORK – The United States and the world are engaged in a great debate about new trade agreements. Such pacts used to be called “free-trade agreements”; in fact, they were managed trade agreements, tailored to corporate interests, largely in the US and the European Union. Today, such deals are more often referred to as “partnerships,”as in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). But they are not partnerships of equals: the US effectively dictates the terms. Fortunately, America’s “partners” are becoming increasingly resistant. 

It is not hard to see why. These agreements go well beyond trade, governing investment and intellectual property as well, imposing fundamental changes to countries’ legal, judicial, and regulatory frameworks, without input or accountability through democratic institutions.

Senior lawmakers from TPP countries call on leaders to protect national sovereignty from US certification

Senior parliamentarians from five countries negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement have signed an open letter urging their political leaders to protect their nations’ sovereignty from the United States’ process of certification. 

The signatories from Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, and New Zealand include prominent former parliamentarians as well as current leaders of political parties, spokespersons for trade, and members of committees with responsibility for the TPP.

Their letter voices ‘grave concern’ that US governments have required parties to previous free trade agreements to change their laws, regulations and procedures to meet the US interpretation of those countries’ obligations before the US allows the agreement to come into force.

TPP: Malaysia Must Withdraw Now Since No US Fast Track Authority

The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) calls upon the Malaysian government to withdraw from the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement negotiations as the US Senate had last night voted against considering fast track authority at this time.

Rethink the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore “Bullet Train” Project

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.

Malaysia Don’t be Deceived by US Bill to "Fast Track" TPP deal

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.