Consumers Association of Penang

Giving voice to the little people...since 1970

TPPA: Don’t sign away our future, cautions CAP-SAM

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.


CAP Objects to Secrecy and Non-Disclosure Clause in TPPA Town Hall and Lab Sessions

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.

 

Why Hasn’t the Price of Goods Decreased?

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.

 

The dirtiest deal you've never heard of

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For years, there's been talk of creating a new free trade deal that would span countries bordering the Asia-Pacific, including the US, Canada, New Zealand, as well as several countries in Latin America and Asia. The deal is called the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement – or "TPP" for short.

The TPP agenda is being driven by big business, big pharmaceuticals and big tobacco – but the impacts will affect all Australians.

Watch the video below to find out why the TPP is terrifying the Australian public. It also shows why Malaysians should be asking our Malaysian Government to halt the TPP negotiations.

https://www.getup.org.au/campaigns/tpp/tpp/the-dirtiest-deal-youve-never-heard-of

Use inheritance tax to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor

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It is a given that the gap between the haves and have-nots in Malaysia is widening. The recent study by the Khazanah Research Institute, the United Nations Human Development (UNHD) Report 2013 and a recent book by Dr. Muhammed Abdul Khalid, all gives the latest evidences pointing to this maldevelopment.

According to the UNHD Report, the total wealth of the richest 40 Malaysians is equivalent to 22% of the country’s GDP, an increase from 15.7% in 2006. In relative terms, Malaysia’s 40 richest individuals are in fact much wealthier than the top 40 richest individuals from the United State, Singapore or Thailand. At the households’ level, the top 20% of Malaysia’s population hold more than 51% of the country’s wealth with the top 10% owning more than 35%. Meanwhile, the bottom 20% has less than 5% of the country’s wealth.

The general consensus is that the issue needs to be urgently addressed for reasons of social equity, social stability and economic growth.

The government’s plans to address this issue, however, have one very glaring omission and that is it does not involve the use of taxation.