Why M’sia-US FTA is not cool for us

Can you trust this lady to get a fair deal on the M’sia-US FTA? She has screwed up big time with the M’sia-Japan FTA.

FTA is a difficult subject to many. Please take some time to read the memo below thoroughly to understand this controversial issue. To me, FTA appears fair and square on the surface but the fact that Malaysia is relatively very much less advanced compared to the US i.e, we cannot compete on equal footing, we will turn out to be the loser. I liken it to a boy and a man entering the same boxing ring for a fight. The rules are neutral but the fight would be lopsided. 

The FMM recent statement claims that the Malaysia-US FTA is good for Malaysian economy but their arguments were lack of substance and certainly not convincing. The FMM leadership should have used their expertise to come out with a detailed gain and loss analysis instead of shooting a short and hollow statement on such an important subject. It’s really too late and too little on the part of FMM.



Perdana Menteri, Menteri Kewangan Dan Menteri Keselamatan Dalam Negeri
Y.A.B. Dato’ Seri Abdullah Bin Haji Ahmad Badawi

Timbalan Perdana Menteri Dan Menteri Pertahanan
Y.A.B. Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Razak

Menteri Pertanian & Industri Asas Tani
YB.Tan Sri Dato’ Muhyiddin Mohd Yasin

Menterian Hal Ehwal Dalam Negeri
YB. Dato Seri Mohd Radzi Bin Sheikh Ahmad

Menteri Kerja Raya Malaysia
YB. Dato’ Seri S. Samy Vellu

Menteri Kebudayaan, Kesenian Dan Warisan Malaysia
YB Datuk Seri Utama Dr. Rais Yatim

Menteri Luar Negeri
YB Dato’ Seri Syed Hamid Bin Syed Jaafar Albar

Menteri Pelajaran Malaysia
Y.B. Dato’ Sri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein

Menteri Pembangunan Wanita, Keluarga Dan Masyarakat
Dato’ Sri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil

Menteri Penerangan Malaysia
Y.B. Datuk Seri Zainuddin Maidin

Menteri Pengangkutan Malaysia
YB Dato’ Sri Chan Kong Choy

Menteri Pengajian Tinggi
YB Dato’ Mustapa Bin Mohamed

Menteri Perdagangan Dalam Negeri Dan Hal Ehwal Pegguna
YB. Datuk Hj. Mohd. Shafie Bin Hj. Apdal

Menteri Perumahan Dan Kerajaan Tempatan
YB Dato’ Seri Ong Ka Ting

Menteri Sumber Manusia
YB Datuk Seri Dr Fong Chan Onn

Menteri Wilayah Persekutuan
YB. Dato’ Zulhasnan Bin Rafique

Menteri Belia Dan Sukan
YB. Datuk Azalina Othman Said

Menteri Pelancongan
YB. Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor

Menteri Kemajuan Luar Bandar Dan Wilayah
YB Dato’ Seri Abdul Aziz Bin Shamsuddin,

Menteri Pembangunan Usahawan Dan Koperasi
YB. Dato’ Seri Mohamed Khaled Bin Nordin

Menteri Perdagangan Antarabangsa & Industri
YB. Dato’ Seri Rafidah Aziz

Menteri Tenaga, Air Dan Komunikasi
YB. Dato’ Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik

Menteri Di Jabatan Perdana Menteri
YB. Tan Sri Bernard Giluk Dompok

Menteri Di Jabatan Perdana Menteri
YB. Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri Bin Abdul Aziz

Menteri Sumber Asli Dan Alam Sekitar
YB. Dato Seri Haji Azmi Bin Khalid

Menteri Sains, Teknologi Dan Inovasi
YB. Dato’ Dr. Jamaluddin Bin Dato’ Mohd. Jarjis

Menteri Kewangan II
YB. Senator Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Bin Yakcop

Menteri Di Jabatan Perdana Menteri
YB. Datuk Dr. Maximus Johnity Ongkili

Menteri Kesihatan
YB. Datuk Dr. Chua Soi Lek

Menteri Di Jabatan Perdana Menteri
YB. Datuk Dr. Abdullah Bin Md Zin

Menteri Di Jabatan Perdana Menteri
YB. Dato’ Sri Mohd. Effendi Bin Norwawi

Mach 14th , 2007

We the citizens of Malaysia , converging from all the states representing the various sectors : farmers , padi planters , small traders , workers , smallholders , fishermen , landless people , urban dwellers , religious groups , rural workers , media practitioners , youth , women , artists , students , academicians , health workers, cooperatives members, citizens organizations , political activist , NGOs from the environment , consumer , cultural , health , human rights and educational groups , private and public workers , rally here today in front of the Prime Minister’s Department , to demand that the Cabinet Ministers who are meeting today , to halt the Malaysia -US FTA negotiation and withdraw all the Malaysian officials from the negotiation table.

We understand that the Cabinet will be making a decision soon on the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States.

The People’s Protest Against FTA rally today urges the Government not to continue with the negotiations.
The FTA will have a dire impact on the sovereignty of the country as our own national policies will be decided by a foreign nation which will dictate according to its interest. This is in effect selling off our hard won independence to another country.

We confirm that the benefits to our country are not clear at all while the costs from the FTA will be very high.

The Government will lose its ability to maintain many key present policies and make new policies. Prevailing social arrangements will be adversely affected as the FTA may cause tensions in Malaysian society.

The implementation of the 9th Malaysia Plan and its success will also be threatened. This means that our national development policies will be dictated by the US rather than by our own Malaysian government. The FTA in essence will hamper our country’s development since any development that is in contradiction to the FTA will need to be amended even if it is not in our national interest.

The FTA will even have a severe impact on the implementation of our national development projects. If in the process of awarding projects to companies is found to violate certain provisions in the FTA, the government could be sued by a US company and the implementation of the projects could be suspended or even ceased.

We also affirmed that through the FTA, national companies will have a lesser share of the government projects as US companies will be able to bid for more and more of the available projects offered. The government will not be able then to award special treatment to national companies own by bumiputeras or otherwise and thereby defeat the whole purpose of achieving ethnic balance amongst national companies drawn by the NEP.

Malaysian companies will be unable to compete with giant US firms and banks. With a competition law that allows uncontrolled race to acquire the biggest share of the market , only big companies from the US will monopolize and rip the maximum benefit , living even Malaysian GLC unprotected.

Since the FTA forces our trade and investment to be opened up, the Government will be unable to continue supporting local firms and products. As a consequence with the reduced share of local investors, jobs will be eliminated and unemployment will rise.

Worse, consumers will have to suffer higher prices of medicines and pay higher costs for information and digital products due to tighter intellectual property laws.

In fact the FTA will undermine our policies to protect the environment and our public health. The US even wants to dictate our environmental and health policies to fit their interest under the guise of free trade.

The US is imposing through the FTA that Malaysia will not be allowed to have a GMO labeling requirement for consumers to make their choice. The US push for voluntary labeling will incapacitate the Malaysian government to put a control in the market on all the US GMO products with health risk to the public.

Within the clause of “most favored nation” which will be part of the FTA , Malaysia will be forced to give all other countries in the FTA equal treatment that is given to the US. This will further deteriorate our sovereignty on our national policies.

In trade, Malaysia may also lose out as we open our markets. This will affect our rice, tobacco and chicken farmers, as well as industrial companies such as the national motorcar industry. Under UPOF, our farmers will be forced to buy seeds from big companies which will keep them under the control of the companies.

After the Singapore FTA with the US came into force in January 2004, the Singapore trade deficit with the US has increased from USD1.4 billion in 2003 to USD4.3 billion in 2004, USD5.5 billion in 2005 and USD6.9 billion in 2006.

There is therefore no reason for Malaysia to sign an FTA with the US nor to continue with the negotiations as it is very costly to do so.

Malaysia can maintain positive and better trade and economic relations with the US without an FTA.

With the above expectations we are not convinced by the assurance announced by the government that the interest of the country will be protected. Negotiating with the US for an FTA to us is a high risk attempt and a gamble that would wipe out 5 decades of independence through a globalized liberal free market economy.

Negotiating for an FTA with the US to us is a sell out of our national sovereignty. The fate of the 25 million people of this country cannot be gambled away by an agreement which binds its future to a foreign nation.
What the Cabinet will eventually decide on this contentious issue of an unjust trade agreement will be a testimony to the victimized generations to come. We shall not allow this to happen.

We rally here today to call on all the elected representatives of the people that have been mandated to hold high positions as Ministers to :

1. Call off the FTA negotiation.
2. Reject any attempt by any foreign country to dictate our own trade policies.
3. To exercise transparency in all international treaties and agreements undertaken by government officials.
4. To allow enough public feedback on any international commitments that affects the livelihood of the people..
5. Save guard national institutions especially those that affects the daily livelihood of the people from been controlled or monopolized by foreign corporations.

Mohd Azmi Abdul Hamid


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