Malaysia may lose out without TPP pact
STIFFER COMPETITION: It will be more difficult to convince foreign firms to invest here
MALAYSIA risks losing out to other countries if it refrains from joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement as its reluctance may impede investments trickling into the country.
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia senior fellow and Assoc Prof of Law Dr Sufian Jusoh said foreign direct investments (FDIs) into Malaysia may be affected if the country chose not to sign on the dotted line.
"If we pull out from the TPP agreement talks, it will be difficult to convince investors to come to Malaysia. We are no longer the darling of FDIs in Asean. We have to compete with Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.
"FDIs are important as it brings in capital jobs andtechnology and encourages local participation," said Sufian at the Business Times Insight dialogue session, "Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement - Opportunities and Challenges for Malaysia".
The guest of honour was International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed. Also present were The New Straits Times Press Malaysia Bhd chief executive officer Mohammad Azlan Abdullah and New Straits Times group managing editor Datuk Abdul Jalil Hamid. The dialogue was moderated by NST managing editor (business/lifestyle) Mustapha Kamil Mohd Janor.
Sufian said according to a survey by A.T. Kearney on FDI Index, Malaysia has fallen to the 25th position from 10th, on concerns over the outcome of the 13th general election.
He said concerns over a stricter intellectual property rights requirement may also discourage the locals from jumping onto the TPP bandwagon as data exclusivity by foreign signatories will likely block local pharmaceutical firms from going big into research and development.
"Malaysia must start building capacity as it moves towards Vision 2020 and start managing the risk of the TPP. Once the Ministry (of International Trade and Industry) completes the negotiations, other agencies and local councils have to band together to manage the risks."
Meanwhile, Bantah TPPA co-chairman Azlan Awang said the government must hold more dialogues with other shareholders.
Bantah TPPA is the largest anti-TPPA coalition in the country with 60 non-governmental organisations and and nine coalition councils.