Photo of TPP conference from New York Timesac

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s push for the Trans-Pacific Pact (TPP) saw a major blunder last Friday after Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau skipped a major conference that should have saw the secret trade deal signed. According to major press media around the world, the TPP is still in negotiation stage and progress is unknown.

The TPP is a new world order where corporations and businesses undermine local governments’ laws, by-passing Parliament legislation mainly in immigration, tax, judiciary and employment. Foreign businesses will have greater rights to the point of suing the local government for infringing the TPP.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is tight-lipped on the effects of TPP on Singapore because the TPP will see a greater influx of foreigners from third world countries like Malaysia, Vietnam, Peru and Brazil – in addition to the existing ones from Philippines, China and India. According to the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the TPP allows a new type of unrestricted “business visa”. Foreign businesses may also sue governments in the name of “anti-competition”, as seen in a recent Australian case where a foreign tobacco company sued the government for imposing plain-packaging and health labels to deter smokers.

The TPP also make it easier for a foreign business to prosecute local businesses, and local Internet Service Providers will have to assist foreign businesses or governments with providing confidential customer information. For PM Lee Hsien Loong, the Singapore government will have easier access to surveillance of overseas Singaporeans.

Although there are no opposition to the TPP in the PAP-dominated Parliament, the major negative effects of TPP remains immigration. Singapore’s infrastructures are already under strain from the increased population, with public transport taking headlines for frequent breakdowns. Aside from lacking resources to accommodate a bigger population, salaries have also stagnated and unemployment is increasing. The current unemployment rate is 3.1% for Singapore citizens, and will look to worsen once cheaper foreign labour have easier access to the local labour market.

Most TPP countries are still getting local legislation to pass through and only dictatorships like Singapore and Vietnam have received domestic approval to proceed.