TPPA concerns are being addressed: Azman

14 Jan 2016 / 05:38 H.

    KUALA LUMPUR: Khazanah Nasional Bhd has expressed its concerns on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) and they are being addressed, said its managing director Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar.
    "When a major proposed agreement or trade treaty like this happens, there will be effects, plus and minus. Certain safeguards have been put in place. There are still things to work on as we touch on preparedness," he told reporters at the 12th Khazanah Annual Review yesterday.
    Azman said Khazanah is supportive of trade agreements but it also has the responsibility to highlight concerns, one of which is the impact on state-owned enterprises (SOE).
    "In the Ad Ref it says they are giving two extra years for Khazanah companies and some SOEs pending the enactment of SOE legislative reform. This is already in the text in the TPPA," he said.
    "Negotiators have gone in, they got certain things, they couldn't get other things. Certain safeguards have been put in place in terms of partial carve-outs, definition of independent pension funds, shareholdings, thresholds and others," he added.
    Azman said overall, these safeguards have improved and allayed some of Khazanah's concerns but there are still certain areas that need to be addressed as the country prepares to sign the agreement.
    He added that the enactment of the SOE legislative reform would benefit Malaysia even without the TPPA.
    On the revision of Budget 2016, Azman said it has been doing a lot of scenario planning during this time of uncertainty and volatility, thus it is quite prepared for all scenarios.
    "The focus on financial resilience is not only at Khazanah's level but we are active shareholders. We make sure all our companies, their balance sheets are armour plated," he said.
    In September last year, a total of RM6.77 billion additional and accelerated domestic investments were announced in support of the government's proactive economic measures. A further RM2.5 billion of Khazanah projects were announced in Budget 2016.
    "I think we can probably do more; on the other hand, we also have to be quite disciplined, we cannot simply do projects that are not viable," Azman said.

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