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Charles Santiago

Posted by : Admin Direktori Blog | Khamis, 2 Disember 2010 | Published in

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Charles Santiago


Malaysia-EU FTA can hit SMEs negatively

Posted: 02 Dec 2010 06:58 PM PST



Although the free trade agreement (FTA) being negotiated between Malaysia and the European Union (EU) and the other with the United States may expand the country’s economy, some of the provisions in them can have a negative impact on Malaysia’s domestic policies.

“The FTA is a comprehensive and ambitious agreement… it involves trade, services, investments, including intellectual property rights, as well as government procurement,” said opposition parliamentarian Charles Santiago (DAP-Klang).

gst 110310 charles santiagoLiberalising government procurements, said Santiago, could result in a major impact on the country’s social and development policies.

He said this in the context of the Malaysia-EU FTA which starts its first round of discussions in Brussels, Belgium, on Dec 6 and 7.

Separate negotiations are scheduled from Dec 6 to 10 in New Zealand with the US and eight other nations -Australia, the host nation, Brunei, Singapore, Vietnam, Chile and Peru – through the Trans-Pacific Partnership FTA (TPP).

“The closed FTA meetings involving Malaysia will put government procurements at risk.

“Most SMEs (small and medium enterprises) get their business from the government. If this is taken away, and if foreign businesses compete here, local businesses will be affected. This will be a big shift for them,” he said.

Santiago, (right) who is also an economist, pointed out during a press conference at the Parliament lobby yesterday that SMEs accounted for 95 percent of Malaysia’s businesses.

He explained that government procurement was a way to tighten the gap between the rich and the poor.

Once shut, now door set to open

When the FTA discussions with the EU took off five years ago, the government had rejected the proposal to open up government procurement to foreign companies.

Another concern raised by Santiago was a clause under the Malaysia-EU FTA agreement that allows private companies to sue the Malaysian government.

“Never in trade agreement history has the government been taken to court by a private company. It has always been government to government.

“If a foreign private company feels that the Malaysian government will impact on their profits, they can take it to the international court.

“In Thailand and the Philippines, you have parliamentary scrutiny, or a parliamentary select committee that looks at the terms of the FTA, gives advice to the government, and invites experts to give advice.

“In Malaysia, Parliament is completely sidestepped and has no role to play over the FTA.

“The FTA must rightfully be discussed in Parliament, but there is no mention here. Nobody knows what is going on,” he said.

Parliament just a rubber stamp

Santiago had raised the matter in the Dewan Rakyat in October. However, Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Jacob Dungau Sagan snubbed his request for a debate on the Malaysia-EU FTA .

“This will be a shame, because we cannot have a public debate and discussion on issues of sovereignty, SMEs or public health based on leaked documents,” Santiago said.

mohd nazri abdul aziz interview 220206 talkingHe stressed that the government, through Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz (left), who is also chairman of the Malaysia-EU caucus, must establish a parliamentary select committee to discuss the document before it is finalised.

“Furthermore, these meetings should be held in public and invite the testimonies of experts, civil society groups, academicians and special interest groups in order to shed light on the agreements,” Santiago said.

“Once it (an FTA) is agreed upon, the government will change Malaysian laws, because they must be consistent with the outcome of the negotiations,” he said, adding that Parliament would have to alter laws in line with the terms of the agreement.

“Parliament will have no role in influencing these laws… it will be reduced to a rubber stamp,” he added.


MPK bakal ambil tindakan atas MCA

Posted: 02 Dec 2010 02:05 AM PST

Source: Selangorkini

SHAH ALAM, 1 Dis – Majlis Perbandaran Klang atau MPK akan mengambil tindakan saman fitnah RM100 juta terhadap MCA berhubung dakwaan parti komponen BN tersebut bahawa majlis perbandaran berkenaan bercadang membina dataran pandamaran bernilai RM9 juta.

Keputusan untuk menyaman MCA dibuat selepas satu mesyuarat Ahli Majlis Perbandaran berkenaan di Klang, semalam.

Beberapa Ahli Majlis menuntut tindakan saman dikenakan terhadap MCA kerana mencemarkan nama baik dan integriti Majlis Perbandaran berkenaan memandangkan dakwaan yang dibuat memberikan tanggapan palsu bahawa MPK membazirkan wang rakyat.

Ahli Parlimen Klang, Charles Santiago ketika dihubungi SelangorKini berkata, beliau telah dimaklumkan mengenai tindakan saman yang bakal dilaksanakan.

"Saya diberitahu MKP akan adakan satu PC hari ini, tetapi kandungan PC saya masih tidak tahu. Untuk maklumat lanjut tentang apa isu yang mereka bangkitkan, boleh bertanya kepada MPK sendiri.

"Secara am, isu yang dibangkit 2-3 minggu lalu, bekas Adun Pandamaran mengatakan bahawa pihak MPK akan membangunkan Pandamaran Square dengan jumlah sembilan milion ringgit. Mereka menyatakan ini pembaziran dan sebagainya.

"Menerusi Ahli Majlis, isu ini belum lagi diputuskan, masih lagi dalam perbincagan awal sahaja, masih awal belum ada angka atau apa-apa, tetapi mereka fikir apa yang dikeluarkan oleh mantan Adun bahawa memberi gambaran kepada orang ramai, kononnya ada salah laku kuasa, pembaziran wang dan gambaran buruk.

"Oleh itu saya fikir MPK telah buat keputusan untuk memberi keterangan yang sebenarnya apa yang berlaku," katanya.

Menurut Charles lagi, MCA tidak sepatutnya bertindak melulu mendakwa projek berkenaan dalam peringkat pembinaan di samping memberikan kenyataan yang mengelirukan serta memberikan gambaran bahawa pembaziran atau pun penyelewengan telah berlaku.

"Ini masih dalam perbincangan awal sebenarnya, tetapi macam mana orang yang tidak berkait dengan proses ini boleh tahu nombor sembilan milion, ada gambar dan sebagainya, jadi macam mana dia boleh tau?" soalnya hairan.


FTA negotiations: SME ‘biggest losers’

Posted: 02 Dec 2010 01:12 AM PST

Source : Free Malaysia Today

By Patrick Lee

KUALA LUMPUR: While the upcoming closed free-trade-agreement (FTA) negotiations with the United States (US) and the European Union (EU) may adversely affect Malaysia's domestic policies, the 'biggest losers' however could very well be Malaysia's small-and-medium-enterprises (SMEs).

According to Klang MP Charles Santiago the 'ambitious agreement' would put government procurement at risk.

"The FTA is a comprehensive and ambitious agreement, which involves trade, services, investments, including intellectual property rights, as well as government procurement and competition.

"The closed FTA meetings involving Malaysia would put government procurement at risk.

"Most SMEs get their business from the government. If this is taken away, and if foreign businesses compete here, local businesses will be affected. This will be a big shift for them," said the DAP economist, adding that more than 95% of Malaysia's businesses are SMEs.

Talking to reporters in the Parliament lobby, he said in its previous FTA negotiations with the EU, more than five years ago, the administration had strongly opposed any action that would affect government procurement.

This was because government procurement was also used to help reduce the poverty gap between the rich and the poor as well as the Malays and the non-Malays.

Santiago said the FTA negotiations, which begin next week, could go on for the next one-and-a-half years.

Malaysia is expected to begin its first round of FTA negotiations with the EU in Brussels from Dec 6-7.

Separate negotiations with the US and eight other nations, including Australia, Singapore and Vietnam over the Trans-Pacific Partnership FTA (TPP) are scheduled from Dec 6-10 in New Zealand.

Power to litigate

On the positive side, Santiago said that under the FTA, private companies would have the power to sue the Malaysian government.

"Never in trade agreement history has the government been taken to court by a private company. It has always been government to government.

"If a foreign private company feels that the Malaysian government will impact on their profits, they can take the it to international court," he said.

Santiago also lamented the lack of information from the government over the upcoming negotiations, and added that Parliaments of other countries had more say when it came to the FTA.

"In Thailand and the Philippines, you have parliamentary scrutiny, or a parliamentary select committee that looks at the terms of the FTA, gives advice to the government, and invites experts to give advice.

"In Malaysia, Parliament is completely sidestepped and has no role to play over the FTA.

"The FTA must righfully be discussed in Parliament, but there is no mention here. Nobody knows whats going on," Santiago said, adding that the opposition had to refer to leaked documents for any information.

"This will be a shame, because we cannot have a public debate and discussion on issues of sovereignty, SMEs or public health based on leaked documents," he added.

Rubber stamp

On a related matter, Santiago warned that if FTA negotiations were to conclude without any parliamentary oversight, then Malaysia's laws and policies, including its Federal Constitution would be changed without notice.

"Once it (FTA terms) is agreed upon, the government will change Malaysian laws, because they must be consistent with the conclusion of the negotiations.

"Parliament will have no role in influencing these laws… it will be reduced to a rubber stamp," he said.

He then called on Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nazri Abdul Aziz, who is also chairman of the EU-Malaysia caucus, to set up a parliamentary select committee to protect Malaysian interests.


DAP wants FTAs open to Parliament checks

Posted: 02 Dec 2010 01:07 AM PST

Source: The Malaysian Insider

By Clara Chooi
December 01, 2010
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 1 — A DAP MP urged the government today to set up a Parliamentary Select Committee on Free Trade Agreements (FTA) to allow legislators to scrutinise FTA negotiations.Klang MP Charles Santiago mooted the proposal today and pointed out that at present, the Malaysian Parliament was a mere "rubber stamp" as it would be forced to accept all negotiations without any checks and balances."Parliament has no avenue to discuss, debate or comment on FTAs which have critical significance [for] sovereignty, development and public policy… issues that have major ramifications to the lives of Malaysians," Charles said in a press conference in Parliament today.

The trained economist claimed that at present, FTA negotiations were conducted in a "non-transparent" manner and without an avenue to discuss on the agreements in Parliament, national laws would eventually be amended to reflect the commitments made at the negotiations.

"Parliament will have no choice but to accept the decisions. It has been reduced to the role of a rubber stamp. It has no choice and clearly this shows that the executive arm of the government is not accountable to Parliament," he said.

Charles added that it was timely for the formation of a Parliamentary Select Committee to allow debates on FTAs as the Malaysian government was presently set to begin negotiations on two critical FTAs with economic powers, the European Union and the US, along with eight other nations.

"The negotiations with the US and the other eight nations will take place in New Zealand from December 6 to 10 in the context of the Trans-Pacific Partnership FTA," he pointed out.

The countries involved in the negotiations include Australia, New Zealand, Brunei, Singapore, Vietmnam, Chile and Peru.

"This will be a second effort on the part of Malaysia to clinch an FTA deal with both the EU and the US.

"This entails negotiations on trade, services and investments, including intellectual property rights, government procurement and competition," he said.

Charles explained that FTA agreements gave rights to investors to legally challenge governments before international tribunals established at the World Bank or the International Court of Arbitration in Paris.

This, he added, would ultimately undermine the sovereignty of the nations involved.

"Liberalisation of the government procurement sector, once considered off-limits to foreign companies is a major departure in the country's social and development policy," he argued.

Furthermore, said Charles, FTAs were not just about the exchange of goods and services but would also have far-reaching implications on public policies, including health, the environment and the growth of small and medium industries.

"As a result, they would have implications for the people, business and special interest groups," he said.

Unlike Malaysia, said Charles, Asean countries like Thailand and Philippines required parliamentary scrutiny and endorsement before their governments formally signed on to FTAs.


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Posted: 02 Dec 2010 12:56 AM PST

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