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Malaysia still weighing pros and cons of trade pact, says Dr M

NEW YORK: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad says Malaysia is still weighing the pros and cons of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and has yet to make any final decision on the matter.

The CPTPP is a renegotiated trade deal born from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) following the US’ decision to pull out of the pact.

During a meeting with members of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, the prime minister said he was not involved in negotiations on the TPP as these had been done by the previous government.

“I am opposed to the trade pact because it was not a fair trade agreement as it gave companies the power to sue governments for loss of future profits and things like that.

“I thought that was too dangerous for small countries to be associated with,” said Mahathir, who is in New York on a five-day working visit during which he will attend the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Mahathir also said he was worried that the TPP tended to take a stand that was almost anti-Chinese in nature, adding that any trade agreement in the area must include all countries with no discrimination.

“That is why we have not made any final decision on the trade pact. We are still looking at the pros and cons.

“Malaysia has a peculiar problem because we are in the process of reshaping our economy, that is towards being more equitable among the races in Malaysia,” he said.

When asked on Malaysia’s view of the TPP’s future following the withdrawal of the US, Mahathir said the new government had not really considered the matter, adding that “we will have to think about what kind of policy we will have on that issue”.

The CPTPP was signed by the remaining 11 TPP member countries – Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam – on March 8 this year.

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