This week IDEAS has been largely focused on organising the Asia Liberty Forum, that will be held on the 18th till the 20th of February. The ALF is a gathering of the best and brightest in Asia to discuss ideas and solutions to promote free markets in Asia. There are a variety of highlights I am excited for, including speed networking which is structured in a similar manner to ”speed dating”, training workshops for marketing and social media skills as well as IDEAS’ 6th Anniversary Celebration.
The TPP agreement has recently been ratified by the Malaysian parliament, which is good news for the world economy as well as Malaysian businesses and consumers. It is commendable that the government has taken the initiative to pursue negotiations through this agreement despite fear-mongering from opponents of free trade. Due to significant opposition from anti-free traders, Malaysia secured a range of carve-outs in the agreement to keep it more palatable. These include retainment of affirmative action measures for the ethnic Malaysian population, and exemption of Public-Private Partnership from fair government procurement measures. Despite these carve-outs weakening the deal, it must be looked at as a whole, and overall it is clear the agreement would be a net benefit.
On Saturday Julian and I visited the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia. This was an eye opening experience and I learnt a great deal about the history of Islam in a variety of countries. The models of the major mosques of the world were particularly impressive!