Ahmed Ali | Blog

Malaysia is supposed to sign the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement or TPPA by the end of this year.

The agreement seems good since it is claimed that it can boost Malaysia’s economy by “enhance trade and investment among the TPPA partner countries, to promote innovation, economic growth and development, and to support the creation and retention of jobs.”

But in reality, the agreement can challenge our rule of laws, our Federal Constitution and the sovereignty of our country because through Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), foreign companies that operate in Malaysia can take Malaysia as their host country to the International Court Of Arbitration if they are not happy with our local laws.

The case of Bilcon, using the ISDS mechanism against the government of Canada is a very good example of how a foreign company can challenge the rule of laws and the sovereignty of its host country for their own benefit.

Bilcon cannot take the government of Canada to a foreign court if Canada did not sign the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) because Canada is a sovereign country.

I would like to refer to the case of Duff Development Company v Government of Kelantan (1924), where the court in England rejected the the case since Kelantan is a sovereign independent State at the time; meaning Duff Development Company cannot take a sovereign country to another country’s court.

So if Malaysia sign the TPPA, Malaysia may face what the government of Canada faced in the Bilcon case where the Canadian government has no control over what is right and fair to its own people and country.

Through ISDS, International Court of Arbitration can also challenge the Articles 3(1), 11(4) and 153 of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia which means a foreign invasion on the sovereign of our country.

Is it worth to open the doors to foreign invasion on the sovereign of our country for economic gains?

In fact, many economic experts have warned us that TPPA is more profitable and gives more power to bigger foreign corporations than our small local industries and it is not fair for our small local industries because they must compete with much bigger companies in an open market.

I am afraid that TPPA will give bigger chances to powerful countries to control the economy of smaller and less powerful countries like Malaysia; something like a new way of invading another country like what had happened in the old times.

Signing the TPPA would be a step backwards for Malaysia as a a sovereign independent State.

TPPA opens the doors to foreign companies to make profit in another country without respecting the local laws, customs, environment and the benefit to their host countries because like what happened in the case of Bilcon, the company is only interested in making profit and has no obligation to make sure that the local people and the country really benefit from its operation.

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