Assalamu’alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh and Good Afternoon
Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. We have come to the end of our series of meetings. It has been my pleasure to host all of you in Kuala Lumpur for the 27th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits, renewing old friendships and welcoming new visitors for the first time.
2. Over the past two days, we have had many useful discussions and have exchanged views, not just on ASEAN, but on the Asia-Pacific and beyond.
3. Yesterday we signed the ASEAN Convention Against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.
4. Today, we formally adopted the landmark document that will guide us over the next ten years – ASEAN 2025: Forging Ahead Together; and we witnessed an event that marks a historic turning point in our region – the declaration of the establishment of the ASEAN Community.
5. ASEAN today has progressed and evolved beyond the hopes, expectations and aspirations of our forefathers. Never did they foresee that ASEAN could become what it has, 48 years after its founding.
6. We have proved to the world that this bloc of nations can be Asia-Pacific’s most competitive regional grouping and a coming force on the international stage.
7. This is just the beginning. For the coming into being of the ASEAN Community does not mean that we have arrived at the end of the region-building process. Now the hard work of fully uniting and integrating under the three pillars of the Community has to be redoubled.
8. This cannot happen overnight, which is why we are giving ourselves the space and time to achieve these goals, and have set 2025 as the target.
9. ASEAN 2025: Forging Ahead Together is based on the Kuala Lumpur Declaration that we signed today, as well as the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, the ASEAN Political-Security Community Blueprint 2025, the ASEAN Economic Blueprint 2025 and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint 2025.
10. This succeeds the Roadmap for an ASEAN Community (2009-2015), and we are serious about its implementation. ASEAN ministers, the ASEAN Secretary General, and all ASEAN organs are tasked with mobilising the necessary resources to ensure that the steps we have agreed to take are put into action.
11. The Secretary General will monitor progress and report annually to the ASEAN Summit. Our aim is to build an outward-looking Community that plays a responsible and constructive role globally; that is resilient, peaceful, secure and responsive to the needs of our peoples and the common good; that is founded on fundamental freedoms and social justice, and embraces the values of tolerance and moderation; and that shares a strong sense of togetherness, common identity and destiny.
12. That is no small ambition. I am confident, however, that together we will achieve this. And together we will deliver on our pledges to further improve the lives of the peoples of ASEAN, and to realise an ASEAN that is truly of the people, and for the people.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
13. Throughout Malaysia’s Chairmanship of ASEAN this year, we have maintained our resolve to promote regional peace and security through moderation, dialogue and constructive exchanges.
14. We have had impressive economic growth over the last ten years, and despite the difficulties facing the global economy, our region is still expected to post a very healthy growth rate of 4.9 percent next year.
15. We have strengthened the bonds of our brotherhood by coming to each others’ aid when human or natural disasters have struck.
16. And we have set ASEAN on a path that should see our Community become the fourth largest economy in the world within the coming decades.
17. None of this would have been possible without the commitment and continuous support from all ASEAN Member States, as well as from our Dialogue Partners. On behalf of the Government and the people of Malaysia, let me express my gratitude for the assistance and cooperation extended to me and my country for the past eleven months. Thank you.
18. On January 1st 2016, the ASEAN Community will begin this new journey; and with that, I have the honour to hand over the Chairmanship to Lao People’s Democratic Republic.
19. Prime Minister Thammavong, I trust under your able leadership, the ASEAN Community will continue to prosper, and I assure you of Malaysia’s unwavering support during your Chairmanship next year.