While the nation is forging ahead to sign free trade agreements (FTA) and liberalising trade with a number of countries, greater transparency has to be exercised to protect the interests of the people.
We have recently learnt that Miti will be signing the FTA with Australia on today.
While PKR is not against free trade between countries, and the signing of the FTA with Australia may contribute towards positive development in trading activities between the two countries, we view the modus operandi adopted by the government as seriously flawed.
The terms and conditions of the FTA had not been discussed in Parliament or in other public domains. We only came to know about it through our internal sources.
This lack of transparency in revealing the details before the FTA is signed appears to be the way the federal government works these days.
The ones who will be affected are the rakyat eventually.
For example, would any of the local industries be affected after the FTA is signed?
In view of public interest revolving around the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (Lamp) in Gebeng, the people are concerned how the FTA may in future attract more hazardous industries from Australia such as the Lynas Advanced Material Plant (Lamp) to operate freely in Malaysia.
However we do hope that dubious projects of uncertain public interest such as Lynas are not promoted in the future. The Malaysian public is wary and I am sure ordinary Australians share the same fears.
We urge Miti to immediately reveal the terms and conditions to the public before the FTA is signed, and in particular, to explain how the FTA will affect the development of the Lynas plant in Gebeng.
Fuziah Salleh is PKR national vice president.