Several groups in Malaysia gathered outside the venue for the 27th Asean Summit in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday (21 November) to protest against US President Barack Obama and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement. One protester said Obama should never have been invited to Malaysia.
"We reject Barack Obama and kufr [disbelieving] leaders because they are a country that has clearly launched attacks against Muslims and until now, continues to attack Muslims. So the prime minister of Malaysia shouldn't have allowed this infidel leader to set foot in Malaysia," said Yusuf Muhammad.
Other protesters denounced the TPP partnership. The TPP is a wide-ranging trade agreement between 12 countries which has taken five years of negotiations. The TPP covers four-tenths of global GDP, and countries from Japan, Canada and Australia to Mexico, Vietnam and Malaysia. It would slash tariffs between them and set common standards on issues ranging from workers' rights to intellectual property protection. One protester, Azzan Aznan, said the agreement put small companies at a disadvantage.
"The people most affected by the TPP are Malaysians, because 70% of Malaysians are poor and have small businesses. I come from Kelantan, where many traders and many companies are small, they will be affected if large companies enter Malaysia," he said.
Another protester, Irwan Fahmi Ideris, warned Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak against signing the TPP pact or risk being voted out of office.
"We ask the government not to sign this TPP agreement. Otherwise in the next general election, we will decide who the next government will be," he said.