View Full Version : Msian activists celebrate expiry of US FTA deadline

02-04-2007, 03:05 PM
"Malaysian farmers, activists and opposition parties have been demanding a halt to the talks on a FTA (with the US), which they say will damage livelihoods...Malaysian opponents of a FTA with the US celebrated on Saturday after the countries missed an end-of-the-month deadline to fast-track an agreement" (from an AFP report in the Spore Business Times, http://business-times.asia1.com.sg, today).


02-04-2007, 04:29 PM
i believe that the FTA will do more good than harm actually...But don't count on the FTA to abolish or make a dent in the NEP, because it WONT. What the FTA offers is cheaper imports for all, and reduced tax tariffs on Malaysian exports to the US. And since US is Malaysia's largest trading partner, this is fairly important towards contributing to the health and vibrance of the Malaysian economy. Inflation in Malaysia and tax tariffs will eventually lead to the country losing out in terms of cost-effectiveness.

On the flip side, the FTA is a double-edged sword, because it is somewhat lop-sided about the clozes regarding the extension of patents and intellectual property rights. What we'll see is more expensive drugs and software. The segment of society most affected by this would probably be the extreme poor.

the village folks and activist seem to fail to see beyond the big picture. because the FTA does not seem to give immediate benefits to them, rather it introduces competition in the form of cheap US grains, which is heavily subsidised by the US Government.

keeping malaysia closed is a definate no-no in this age of globalisation. It would further damage livelihoods if foreign investment dries up in Malaysia and the economic pie shrinks even further.(We are already seeing early signs of this)

just my humble 2 cents.

04-04-2007, 09:02 AM
S Korea and the US have managed to agree on a FTA after protracted negotiations.

The difference between Msia and S Korea is that in the latter there was the political will, from the President down, to get a FTA with the US in place. So much so that the S Korean negotiators were instructed to exercise "maximum flexibility".

Unlike Msia, where there is obviously no political will to see the FTA through. The govt dithered and surrendered to the isolationists and the defenders of the status quo. Of course, this will be to the ultimate disadvantage of Msia, as US-based investors wonder at what the Msian govt is up to. And there are a lot more attractive destinations for US investors than Msia.

04-04-2007, 10:57 AM

I'm sorry to hear you suddenly ddin't enjoy the fruits of FTA (so close yet so far) but I"m not sure if those farmers are morons, they are just poor, that probably means if the FTA agreement is reached, they still can't afford those cheaper US made cars, or that cheaper Napa valley wine, or those cheaper Ipods... etc. in fact, if FTA is signed, life would be even harder for them, coz medicine cost will rise, more competition from US grains/rice (US subsized), the poor would be less protected socially and environmentally (some will impact you too.) While Globalization does have its benefits, its does not benefits everyone, it just benefits certain groups (as all agreements are) usually the RICH and those big corporations.

Lastly, not every poor person is a moron, and not every rich person is smart.

04-04-2007, 09:24 PM
"Moron" is a strong word and everybody is entitled to their opinions. Having said that, I would support the FTA. Worry about US rice? But we are already a net importer of rice. Without the FTA, some goods made in Malaysia will get a tariff. So these manufacturers , to compete for market share in the US will have to offset this tariff by cutting cost, by moving to cheaper countries, probably those with favourable trade agreements with the US. This means lost of revenue and jobs. This also means not many people will be keen to invest in Malaysia. Malaysia cannot compete with emerging countries like Vietnam, China and India in terms of cheap labour and cheap tecnical expertise. Soon they will also have world class infrastructure. So we needed the FTA to maintain an edge. Already there is talk that Intel will set up a huge plant in Vietnam. There are more and more empty factory lots in Penang as they move to cheaper regions. More expensive drugs and medicine? but if that means better more effective drugs, why not? I always wondered why an aspirin I bought in the US clears my cold really fast. The FTA would have brought us more access to US gvt procurement. One company in Penang has to send parts to be assembled in Singapore (a Trade Agreement Act signatory), for products (worth hundreds of millions a year) bought by the US govt. I feel that the people who are against the FTA are afraid of competing and still want to be protected, while the rest of the world flies by us.

04-04-2007, 09:48 PM
Got a question to ask: Can services like legal ,accounting, engineering and medical be part of the FTA? Malaysia I believe has a competitive advantage in its human capital. We are hard workers, highly skilled and relatively cheaper to hire. Shouldn't we take advantage of this?

04-04-2007, 11:46 PM
Basically most economic in Malaysia is control by that few people. Like rice, texile quota and petrolum, etc. FTA will mean de-monopolies their holding. I do not think farmers in Malaysia are the ones voicing their opinion, instead are the main stockist in Malaysia. All the while Malaysian rice has been control in tight by these people and the government. FTA dilute such control.

Most important issue is FTA that American companies can sue Malaysian government, which makes alot of sense, for financial compensation incase of wrong doing. Imagine the amount of wrong doing government department all these year and if normal Malaysian would be able to sue government department for financial loss due to their wrong doing, they would have bankrupte the government long ago. All other issue are not as important, I think the main reason was this that is why the FTA was not sign.

I think majority of malaysian couldn't be more happy if the government be held responsible for their wrong doing. Current laws makes all government department immune to all legal recourse.

Next reason I see is under FTA, US citizen can hold 100% of companies here and have equal benefit as bumiputra. Since bumi companies has always been spoon feed by the government, I really doubt they gonna give up their only meants of staying alive. Imagine, no more exclusive to government contracts, no more exclusive cheap loans, no more high value for their debenture share etc. Thats hell for them. Once impose, I think most bumi companies would close down.

Just my 2 cents

05-04-2007, 08:44 PM
sirgalahad2010: please see what cars these FARMERS, ACTIVISTS AND OPPOSITION GROUPS' are driving. then you tell me are they morons or not in opposing the FTA with US...

06-04-2007, 12:29 AM
I don't think that the opponents of the FTA are against free trade or having a knee jerk reaction against globalisation. They're just not embracing it lock, stock and barrel without critical scrutiny and looking beyond personal and individual gain.

It is a matter of public record that bilateral FTAs tend to bear no short term benefits to less developed nations. Even a developed country like Singapore recorded a trade deficit of US$2.9 Billion (200% increase) after they signed the FTA with the US (one of the largest losers being the textile industry) and Australia's exports to the US fell by 4.7%. This doesn't even take into account the larger socio-economic impact it has had on even less developed nations like Mexico. (see Media Pekerja (http://www.mediapekerja.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=23&Itemid=29) for news report and public domain trade statistics for corroboration)

Folks are not saying dump free trade and turn your back on globalisation. They're saying be prudent and be transparent about the negotiations and be mindful of the larger implications before signing lives away.

Further Resources

Third World Network (http://www.twnside.org.sg/)
FTA Malaysia (http://www.ftamalaysia.org/)
Proposed Malaysian-US Free Trade Agreement (MUFTA):
Implication for Malaysian Economic and Social Development (http://www.ftamalaysia.org/file_dir/88260483645f8f49c9130e.doc) (Word Document)

06-04-2007, 10:22 AM
I think that there are significant groups in Malaysia who are s**t-scared about competition and that they would be forced to shape up in a free-trade globalised environment.

The question is why Malaysia is still not ready to compete on a equal footing 50 years after Merdeka?

Ask the anti-FTA NGOs, activists and opposition parties, and also the parties determined to preserve the existing status quo, this, and they have no sensible answer.

So, in time-honoured fashion, they resort to empty and inflammatory rhetoric.

Yup, morons. Exactly right. In the ruling elite too!

06-04-2007, 02:18 PM
I think that there are significant groups in Malaysia who are s**t-scared about competition and that they would be forced to shape up in a free-trade globalised environment.That is one area we are definitely in agreement.