Brunei's Tremendous Contribution to ASEAN

Dr Surin Pitsuwan, the former secretary-general of Asean and former foreign minister of Thailand, speaking during the Asean Media Forum in Manila, Philippines. – DANIAL NORJIDI

Kudos to Brunei’s ‘tremendous contribution’ to Asean
August 18, 2017

| Danial Norjidi |

BRUNEI Darussalam is important in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and will continue to make a tremendous positive contribution to the grouping.

Dr Surin Pitsuwan, the former secretary-general of Asean and former foreign minister of Thailand, shared this with the Bulletin on the sidelines of the recent Asean Media Forum in Manila, the Philippines. Asked for his thoughts on Brunei’s role in Asean, he said, “I think the fact that you get along with everyone well and the leadership has been long-lasting in collecting a lot of experiences, would give Brunei a continued contributing role into the Asean process.

“It’s very important. Size is not decisive,” he said, noting the ideas and initiatives that come from Brunei. “Brunei will continue to make a tremendous positive contribution to Asean.”

Dr Pitsuwan was one of the featured speakers at the Asean Media Forum that took place on August 4, where he delivered a talk entitled ‘Asean – the next 50 years’.

In his speech, he shared a personal perspective on the next 50 years for Asean, in which he said that Asean at 50 can take pride in its considerable achievements.

He noted that Asean has evolved into a regional platform which has allowed major players to discuss political and security issues, helping bring stability and peace to the region.

He said that Asean has contributed greatly to the vast improvement in living standards of people in the region, noting that over half of Asean’s 620 million people now enjoy middle-class status with rising purchasing power and sustainable growth, contributing to a total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of US$2.5 trillion.

The region has also benefitted from the relocation of many global industries, along the way creating lucrative markets for imported consumer goods, he said, noting that combined trade volume has reached $2.6 trillion, while Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has been hovering around $130-150 billion a year.

However, he added that while much has been accomplished, much more needs to be done. “The second half of the first century of Asean will require full ownership, active participation and meaningful contributions from its people.”

The Asean Media Forum was jointly organised by the Asean Secretariat and the Deutsche Gessellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), in consultation with the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs.

The forum was aimed at providing a platform for Asean to convey key messages of its goals, achievements and challenges to top media leaders, while at the same time, allowing for engagement, discussion and debate on topical and timely international issues which affect the region.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

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