KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will not rush into ratifying the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a minister was quoted as saying on Thursday (Jan 17), adding that the government wants to ensure that the terms of the agreement are fair to the country.
There has been growing pressure on Malaysia to ratify the trade pact, ahead of a ministerial meeting for signatory nations this weekend.
In an interview with the South China Morning Post, Minister of International Trade and Industry Darell Leiking said there is nothing stopping Putrajaya from ratifying the CPTPP, which came into force on Dec 30.
However, the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government - which only came into power last May - still has much to deliberate before making the decision, he said.
READ: Singapore inks new TPP trade pact with 10 other countries - 5 things to know about the CPTPP
“This CPTPP was signed before we (PH) took over the government and our eight-month-old government is doing our own analysis on what was decided before we became government, and how we can fit it into the current policy that we have,” said Mr Leiking.
“We want to ensure that the terms agreed before we took over the government are fair to Malaysia.”
Mr Leiking also pointed out that Malaysia, as a federation, needed the assent of the peninsula as well as Sabah and Sarawak before laws were amended to ratify the CPTPP, reported the South China Morning Post.
Negotiated and signed on Mar 8 last year, the CPTPP - which is a revived version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership following the United States' withdrawal - brings together 11 economies from both sides of the Pacific, representing 14 per cent of the global economy.
The 11 participating nations are: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
The CPTPP came into force on Dec 30 after the six-nation ratification threshold was reached.
So far, seven nations – Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore and Vietnam – have ratified the deal.
In Malaysia, there has been a vocal lobby against the CPTPP, arguing that the country would lose policy flexibility, while government-linked companies would be restricted in the preferences that they can give to local small- and medium-size enterprises under the trade pact.