TONTON ASTRO AWANI

PENGUNJUNG SETIA

22 Julai 2013

'GOVT WILL PROTECT OUR DIGNITY'

By Hai Rozzaman Jalal

LEDANG: THE government will never sell out the country's dignity and interests with regard to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) negotiations held in Kota Kinabalu last week.

Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Hamim Samuri said the views of various stakeholders were important, but denied that the government was planning to sell the nation's dignity with its decision.

"The government has always strived to safeguard the people's rights when inking any agreement and will conduct a detailed study first.

"Many quarters are disputing the TPPA, but they should know we will never sell our country's interests to external parties and will not bankrupt the nation.

"We are always looking to expand trade opportunities to increase national earnings which now stand at RM200 billion annually," he said during SME Bank's breaking of fast with 120 orphans at Bukit Gambir Mosque here yesterday.

He assured the people that they had no reason to be anxious as the TPPA negotiations had not been finalised.

"As a developing country that depends on international trade, Malaysia cannot isolate itself, but must participate in such negotiations."

Hamim added that the objections by non-governmental organisations in Kota Kinabalu and Kuala Lumpur to the TPPA negotiations were politically motivated.

Some 200 NGOs held a protest against the TPPA outside the International Trade and Industry Ministry's building in Kuala Lumpur on Friday, calling for the government to pull out of the negotiations.

The protesters, who brought traffic in the area to a temporary standstill, handed over a memorandum to the ministry's deputy secretary-general Mohd Rizal Sheriff.

In Kota Kinabalu, 14 TPPA protesters were arrested by police after gathering outside the Sutera Harbour Resort, where the 18th round of TPPA discussions were being held.

SOURCE: NST JULY 22, 2013

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