The government’s stand
Leiking said Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has been looking into the matter.
“He has given his thoughts when he was in Japan. Give us some time to grasp the agreement, the prime minister will certainly make a decision on the matter soon,” he said, referring to Mahathir’s call for a review of the CPTPP as the current agreement could prove to be a disadvantage for smaller economies.
Leiking told reporters this after receiving courtesy calls by delegates from Singapore, South Korea, Australia and the United Kingdom today.
He said Malaysia has not opted out from the pact, but the new government would need some time to ensure that it would benefit the nation.
International Trade and Industry Ministry secretary-general Isham Ishak said that after signing the pact in March this year, there would be a ratification process which required Malaysia to undertake some changes in laws and regulations pertaining to the enforcement of the agreement in February next year.
“Malaysia might miss the enforcement date, as we still have to make some amendments on laws and regulations during the upcoming parliamentary session, but we can still join the pact once the ratification is done,” he said.
Isham added countries which opted out of the pact after signing the agreement would not be slapped with any penalty under its exit clause but need to give proper notification.
Meanwhile, Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia, Andrew Goledzinowski, said Malaysia and Australia were looking forward to strengthening cooperation between the two countries within the established bilateral framework.
Both countries also discussed regional relationships, including the CPTPP and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
“We are optimistic of a positive outcome on the ratification,” he said.
Goledzinowski said Australia was confident of the new government and was optimistic on the Malaysian government’s move to review mega projects.
Citing the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) – which has a high rate of involvement by Australian companies – as an example, he believed that there was no fear of government scrutiny despite having to go through an audit.
On investments, he said Malaysia had a lot to offer, including ease of doing business, a highly skilled workforce and low cost base.
Apart from the financial sector, Goledzinowski said Australia also saw opportunities to strengthen its trade and investment relations with Malaysia in the tourism, hospitality, construction, energy and education sectors.