In conjunction with its 104th anniversary, the Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MICCI), Ipoh chapter, hosted a luncheon at WEIL Hotel, Ipoh on Wednesday, October 19. The event was attended by about a hundred guests.
Jason Lee spoke on behalf of chairman Dato’ Lim Si Boon who was away due to a prior engagement. In his speech, Jason requested that the state government set aside suitable land for industrial development.
He said that a high-speed broadband was badly needed within Ipoh’s central business district. And since a lot of businesses relied on the internet it was proper that the present system be upgraded.
Former Secretary-General of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Tan Sri Dr Rebecca Fatima Sta Maria was the guest speaker.
She spoke on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), an agreement which was signed in February. For the signing to proceed, it had to get parliamentary approval. According to some, Malaysia was the first to rectify the agreement. This, she insisted, was not true.
“As people had their doubts, we decided to go to Parliament. It was deliberated for three days before approval was given,” said Rebecca.
It would be imperative for ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) to amend certain laws and regulations to implement the agreement. Some of these include intellectual property rights, labour laws and the customs acts.
Should the laws be revamped, Malaysia is deemed to have rectified the agreement. Some questioned the haste in doing so when the Americans were in no hurry.
“TPP is two years in the making and 12 countries are involved. We’ve put in our time, money and work into it. There’ll certainly be pressure on the Americans,” she continued.
Moving on to ASEAN, which was identified as a community in 2015, she expressed her doubts regarding the definition of ASEAN Community 2015 or AC2015. For such an entity to operate freely, tariffs, customs excise and trade barriers must be dismantled. This is not something easy as countries within the association are reluctant to do so voluntarily. Some forms of control are still required and this will have an impact on intra-region trade.
“ASEAN is negotiating a very important agreement with China now. There are lots of challenges ahead. As the association turns 50 next year, I hope things will work in its favour,” she concluded.