Leaked Draft Confirms Pakatan’s Fears

KUALA LUMPUR: Pricier medicine, internet policing and longer patents – these are what Malaysians will face should the government agree to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), according to Pakatan Rakyat leaders.

DAP lawmaker Charles Santiago said today the draft of the secretive trade pact, published online by whistleblowing site WikiLeaks yesterday, has confirmed Pakatan’s worst fears all along.

“We have to be worried about it for three reasons. First, Americans are pushing for a longer patent period – now, the patent period maximum is 20 years, (but) we are now pushing it beyond 20 years, which could be 30, 40 (years)… another proposal is up to 50 years patent.

“This means a patented medicine can only be generic after the 50th year. Which means the cost of medicine, for the longest time, will be very high,” he told a press conference here today.

He claimed the chapter also touched upon “Internet policing” which would have an adverse impact on websites.

“If I go into your website and download something from you, and I do it illegally, you will be held liable. So they have introduced another layer of policing of copyrights…and a new group called Internet cops,” said the Klang MP.

He added that should the Malaysian government delay approval of patent permits from foreign firms settled here, the government would have to pay compensation.

PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar, who was also present at the press conference, said they had only begun to scratch the surface of the 95-page document, which touched on intellectual property and would work with the Bantah TPPA coalition to further scrutinize it.

“It appears the government has reneged on its promises. More technology will be patented; intellectual rights property owners will profit at the expense of generic producers,” she said.
Caucus has no powers
Worse, she said, there was no means by which parliamentarians could seek recourse as the current parliamentary caucus on the TPPA had no formal powers.

“We want the caucus to be formalised into a proper standing committee and we want to scrutinize every line. Now we have the leaked texts, but no formal process to make changes to benefit Malaysians,” said Nurul Izzah.

Santiago said the Malaysian government could no longer hide behind secrecy as WikiLeaks had revealed the documents online for the world to read.

“What we can surmise from the leaked documents is that the US is pushing for its own demands, its own laws and the demands of its corporations.

“Does the Malaysian government still want to go ahead with this agreement?” he said.

Source: FreeMalaysiaToday