This 8th of August marks 47 years since ASEAN was formed. Its formation is a pivotal moment in the overall effort to create a South East Asia that is peaceful, stable and prosperous.
From a group of 10 countries characterised by diverse political systems, cultures and religions, this region is now also defined by its dynamic and competitive economies.
As one of the founding members of ASEAN, Malaysia should be proud of the role it has played in the effort to ensure ASEAN’s success.
Since its formation in 1967, ASEAN has been the cornerstone of Malaysia’s foreign policy. Malaysia would not have been able to develop had countries of the region were in conflict with one another. ASEAN’s unity is one of the main reasons why our region has enjoyed peace, stability, and prosperity.
The solidarity of ASEAN has made ASEAN credible in the eyes of the world and ASEAN is now ready to be fully integrated into a community. ASEAN seeks to establish a Community that is outward looking, playing a leading role in emerging regional architecture and contributing to the healthy development of global community, socially responsible, free of conflict and economically vibrant. This brings ASEAN closer to the peoples of the region making it a people-centered organisation that is caring and socially responsible.
It is therefore only appropriate that the theme Moving Forward in Unity to a Peaceful and Prosperous Community has been chosen by Myanmar as the Chair of ASEAN for this year. This theme is also appropriate as it reminds us that ASEAN must continue to be visionary and forward-looking.
Malaysia will assume the ASEAN Chairmanship next year. As Chairman, we are expected to lead and drive efforts to strengthen ASEAN beyond 2015. The upcoming Chairmanship is thus very important to Malaysia as it is during our Chairmanship that the ASEAN Community will be established.
For the government, it is our desire to increase the participation of all stakeholders in ASEAN activities.
It is for this reason that we chose People-Centred ASEAN as the central theme of Malaysia’s Chairmanship in 2015. The creation of a ‘People-Centred ASEAN’ could be regarded as a bold attempt towards the realisation of our people’s aspirations – good governance, transparency, higher standards of living, sustainable development, further empowerment of women, and greater opportunity for all.
To ensure the involvement of all Malaysians in this noble endeavour, the government will intensify efforts to ensure that ASEAN is brought closer to the people. We will intensify our efforts in the coming months to increase the awareness of the public about ASEAN.
Finally, let us all harness our collective energies to ensure that ASEAN continues to remain an important vehicle in the effort to enable that our country to continue to enjoy peace, stability and prosperity.
Happy 47th ASEAN Day.