Special Parliament session may be needed to discuss TPPA, caucus chair says

Mustapa Mohamed

(Malay Mail Online) – The bipartisan parliamentary caucus looking into the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) is mulling the need for a special Parliament sitting for lawmakers to debate the trade deal.

According to The Star today, caucus chairman Datuk Wira Ahmad Hamzah said the deal may not make it to the next parliamentary sitting which begins October 19, as priority would be given to debates on Budget 2016.

“There may not be enough time to bring it to the Dewan Rakyat this coming meeting between Oct 19 and Dec 3, as details of the agreement will only be released to the 12 nations negotiating the agreement in 30 days,” he told the English daily.

“We need the documents together with the cost benefit analysis for us to debate the TPPA.”

The 11-member parliamentary caucus comprises six MPs from ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) and five MPs from the opposition. It has so far held 14 meetings with International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed (pic) since its formation in 2013.

Mustapa was given the mandate to negotiate the terms of the trade deal, which critics have complained have largely been secretive with its contents.

However, document leaks have led to much criticism over possibilities of state-owned enterprises and costs for medicine among others to be impacted negatively by the TPPA.

On Monday night, it was announced in a press conference in Atlanta, Georgia in the United States that 12 nations including Malaysia have reached a final agreement on the the TPPA, the largest regional trade accord in history.

Those representing the countries involved in the pact must now seek approval to ratify the deal.