28 April 2014
MALAYSIA and the United States yesterday pledged to deepen their bilateral ties, which Prime Minister Najib Razak described as being “closer than ever before”.
Datuk Seri Najib also stated Malaysia’s commitment to pursuing the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, but suggested that domestic “sensitivities” may hold up its readiness to sign.
“I know all sides share our desire for an agreement that delivers the best for our citizens and our businesses,” he said at a joint press conference with visiting US President Barack Obama.
“I would like to thank President Obama for his understanding of Malaysia’s sensitivities in the TPP negotiations.”
The US-led TPP has drawn protests in Malaysia from groups which fear that it will drive up the cost of essential goods as well as dismantle the country’s pro-Malay affirmative action policies.
Mr Obama, who was in Tokyo last week, also failed to clinch a deal with Japan.
… Political analyst Oh Ei Sun from Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies noted that nothing substantial was accomplished on the TPP.
“Behind the scenes, of course, we do not know what concessions may have been made but, on the surface, we don’t see any such concessions,” he said, noting that it was difficult for Mr Najib to make concessions, as they would be seen by his Umno supporters as failing to protect Malay rights.
IDSS / RSIS / Print
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