In support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement(TPPA) was Mr Azwan bin Omar who is a member of the Malaysian Youth Parliament and has worked closely with the Ministry of International Trade and Industry .He is also a known ardent supporter of the TPPA. On the other side of the table sat Dr Anas Alam Faizli who is co-founder of both Blindspot and Bantah TPPA.
The forum was moderated by Madam Nur Shamimah who is a assistant lecturer from the Faculty of Business.
Interestingly , Mr Azwan and Dr Anas turned out to be old friends who have known each other from their UIA days, hence both were very comfortable debating frankly about the the issue at hand with things getting a little spicy at times as cleverly worded barbs were traded across the floor leaving madam moderator relatively flustered as she tried to guide the 2 enthusiastic speakers who were clearly passionate about their individual points of views.
There was however, no love lost as both were still on friendly terms after the forum. One thing for sure, both guests were clearly well versed with the subject matter and the forum turned out to be a truly informative one as the audience were presented with facts, figures and arguments from both points of view.
While there were 6 main questions posed by madam moderator to Dr Anas and Mr Azwan , what happened was that starting from the second question,in addition to answering the question, both speakers took the liberty of rebutting whatever points his counterpart had presented earlier. This turned the forum into a semi-debate , much to delight of the audience who were engrossed in the way strong arguments were rebutted with even stronger rebuttals which was then subsequently readdressed. Listening to two experts in a particular field engage in intellectual discourse on a subject such as the TPPA was refreshing experience for many after a long day of dull lectures.
Also, despite the fact that TPPA will allow large foreign cooperation more freedom to do business in Malaysia that will in turn affect local businesses, it will at the same time expose Malaysian business to a higher standard forcing local business to raise their standards and competitiveness or die off. On the other hand, Dr Anas was firmly of the view that since the trade benefit of TPPA to Malaysia is predicted to be minimal due to various factors (Existing trade agreements with other countries , lack of interest by local business is those particular markets etc) , the drawbacks of the TPPA far outweighed whatever benefit it could offer to Malaysia.
Finally, the discussion was rounded up with a short Q&A session where questions ranging from obscenity censorship to life with TPPA were raised up.
In the end, although it was clear that Dr Anas had more support from the audience, Mr Azwan encouraged the students to do as much research as they can over this agreement and to formulate their own opinion over this issue. The forum concluded with the presenting of tokens of appreciation to guest speakers and a round of refreshments at the lobby.