BENTONG, 13 Jan 2009: Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi wants International Trade and Industry Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to brief the cabinet on his statement that his ministry has temporarily stopped Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations with the United States.
The Prime Minister said Muhyiddin must formally inform the cabinet on his ministry’s decision and the implications.
“Tan Sri Muhyiddin must brief the Cabinet and what are the implications,” he told reporters after attending the East Coast Economic Region Development Council meeting here today.
Present were Pahang Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob, Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman and Kelantan Menteri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat.
Asked whether Muhyiddin made the statement in the wake of the latest developments in the Israel-Palestine conflict in the Middle East where the United States is seen to be supporting Israeli brutalities on the Palestinians in the Gaza strip, Abdullah said: “Definitely, what was announced by Tan Sri Muhyiddin must be linked to what was debated in Parliament (about the Palestine issue).
“Whatever it is, he (Muhyiddin) must inform the cabinet officially. There are matters that need to be explained,” he said.
Muhyiddin said yesterday his ministry would temporarily stop FTA talks with the United States until it received further instructions from the cabinet.
Muhyiddin had said the government would not be hasty to conclude the negotiations especially at a time when the US was giving full support to the Israeli atrocities on the Palestinians.
The minister said the several rounds of FTA talks held with the US so far had not reached an agreement on many issues. — Berrnama