Malaysia Current Affairs - 2019

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Counterfeit, Pirated Goods and Global Trade

The assessment  by EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) carried out based on data from almost half a million customs seizures by international enforcement agencies highlights the following:

  • Global sales of counterfeit and pirated goods have increased to USD 522 billion a year, amounting to a whopping 3.3 per cent of world trade.
  • The share of counterfeit goods has witnessed a considerable rise since its previous 2016 estimate of 2.5 per cent of global trade.
  • Counterfeit goods represented 121 billion Euros worth of imports into the European Union alone which amounted for a massive 6.8 per cent of total imports into the bloc, up from five per cent in 2016.
  • Counterfeiting and piracy posed a major threat to innovation and economic growth, at both EU and global level.
  • Companies which were most affected by counterfeiting and piracy were mainly based in developed OECD nations like the United States, Japan, South Korea and EU states.
  • Even businesses in China, Brazil and Hong Kong are being increasingly hit.
  • Countries exporting the most counterfeit and pirated goods were China, Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Singapore, Thailand, India and Malaysia.

The EUIPO has expressed deep concerns about the rise in the counterfeit and pirated goods and called for coordinated action, at all levels, to fully tackle the menace of piracy and counterfeit products.

Malaysia joins the International Criminal Court

Malaysia has ratified the Rome Statute making it the 124th State party to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Even though Malaysia had helped to negotiate the Rome Statute, it has been long been reluctant to ratify it. Ratification after 20 years is seen as a welcome move.

Why Malaysia has acceded to the Rome Statute after 20 years?

  • The downing of flight MH17 and the Rohingya crisis have focused Malaysia’s attention on the ICC.
  • After the election of Mahathir Mohamad for his second stint as Prime Minister in May 2018, there has been a significant shift in the relationship between the Malaysian government and monarchy. The earlier reluctance to ratify the Rome Statute has largely stemmed from a concern that the King, as the head of the armed forces could be held responsible for crimes committed by those under his command Mahathir’s relationship with the Sultans and the King is notoriously tense. During his first period as prime minister (1981-2003), Mahathir “stripped the sultans of their power to veto state and federal legislation”, removed their legal immunities, and established a special court to prosecute royal cases.
  • The election of Mahathir and appointment of a new Attorney General, Tommy Thomas, has seen the main legal obstacles to ratification removed.
  • The ratification has also stemmed from ambition to see Malaysia playing a more active role in ASEAN and the United Nations.

International Criminal Court established by Rome Statute is a permanent international court with jurisdiction over those most responsible for committing the most serious human rights crimes: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression.