Saturday, November 28, 2015

Unlikely alliance at anti-TPPA protest(Malaysiakini)

Unlikely alliance at anti-TPPA protest

Anne Muhammad     Published     Updated     4 comments
As US President Barack Obama is in Malaysia to attend the 27th Asean summit this weekend, an unlikely grouping of over 50 NGOs and political parties held a protest against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) today.

The protesters gathered in front of the As-Syakirin Mosque in KLCC around 2pm today before marching to Ampang Park.

Opposition to TPPA has brought together unlikely political ‘allies’ Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) and Parti Rakyat Malaysia with Islamist party PAS.

In addition, those representing Malay-Muslim pressure groups Perkasa, Ikatan Muslim Malaysia (Isma) and Gabungan Mahasiswa Islam se-Malaysia (Gamis), also marched on the same route with moderate-leaning Muslim groups such as Pertubuhan Ikram Malaysia (Ikram) and Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (Abim).

Even sacked Langkawi Umno member Anina Saadudin (photo) joined the rally.

They chanted phrases like ‘Reject TPPA’ and ‘Protest Against TPPA’ and held signs that said ‘TPPA Kills’, ‘TPPA is making Malaysia poorer’ and ‘Don't gamble the country's sovereignty’ while they marched.

'TPPA will burden the rakyat'

PSM spokesperson Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj said the TPPA will only burden the people, especially on copyright issues.

For example, he said, if the agreement was signed, students can no longer make photocopies of textbooks due to copyright issues.

"In TPPA, it says if a shop photocopies a textbook that is copyrighted, the government can confiscate the photocopy machine and put the people in jail.

"This will affect the students," he said to reporters during the protest.

Jeyakumar, who is also the Sungai Siput MP, urged Malaysians to convince MPs of their own constituencies to not support signing the agreement.

Bantah TPPA vice-chairperson Azlan Awang also pointed out that International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed had previously said the prices of medicine will not increase.

However, Obama had contradicted that yesterday when he admitted that prices of medicine are expected to go up, Azlan said.

"Mustapa said medicine prices will not go up, but Obama himself said medicine prices will go up.

"We hope the TPPA will not cause our country to be colonised," he said.

Perkasa Youth chief Irwan Fahmi Idris said that they will not budge from their stance that the TPPA will only burden the rakyat.

"We will not budge from our decision that the TPPA will harm the rakyat.

"They (the ministers) are elected by the rakyat, but when it comes to signing the TPPA, they don't ask the rakyat at all," he said.

Yesterday, former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said that the only reason Obama is attending the Asean summit is to convince Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to sign the TPPA.

The TPPA is a wide-ranging trade agreement between the US and 11 countries, including Malaysia.

While negotiations concluded on Oct 5th in Atlanta, the agreement still needs to be signed by the governments of the countries involved. - Malaysiakini, 21/11/2015

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