Maintaining core values of ASEAN in the journey to the future: Malaysian Ambassador

Unity as a core value and ASEAN centrality as an approach when dealing with issues in the region would be worth maintaining as ASEAN continues to develop.
Đại sứ Malaysia tại Việt Nam Dato Tan Yang Thai.
Malaysian Ambassador to Vietnam Dato’ Tan Yang Thai appriciated the meanings of the ASEAN Future Forum 2024. (Photo: WVR)

The ASEAN Future Forum 2024 will be gathering the input of not just government policymakers, but also the thoughts, experiences and ideas from experts from the business sector, academia, and NGOs as well as the youth of ASEAN in order to provide their input, thinking and vision for a sustainable, community-centered ASEAN.

It will be a timely platform for the participants from a wide-range of backgrounds to provide their input, especially as ASEAN gears up to the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, launched through the Kuala Lumpur Declaration during Malaysia’s chairmanship of ASEAN almost ten years ago, in 2015.

As the ASEAN Future Forum 2024 will be leveraging on its track 1.5 format to gather inputs and views from a wide range of participants, I look forward to an engaging exchange of views, and possibly novel ideas that may come out from the engagement that could contribute to our collective efforts at strengthening the ASEAN community.

The ASEAN Community Vision Post-2025 charts the path for ASEAN Community building over the next two decades. It is a forward-looking roadmap that articulates ASEAN goals and aspirations to realise further consolidation, integration and stronger cohesiveness as a Community.

Continuing the implementation of the ASEAN Vision beyond 2025 presents a strategic opportunity to consolidate and enhance the ASEAN Community, fostering deeper regional integration and cooperation among its member states. By sustaining the momentum built through previous initiatives, ASEAN can capitalize on its collective strengths and address emerging challenges within a rapidly evolving global landscape.

One significant aspect of advancing the ASEAN Vision is the prospect of promoting inclusive growth and development across the region. Through targeted policies and initiatives, ASEAN can work towards narrowing the development gap among its member states, ensuring that the benefits of economic progress are shared equitably among all segments of society. This inclusivity not only fosters social cohesion but also enhances the resilience of the ASEAN Community against internal disparities.

Furthermore, advancing the ASEAN Vision can facilitate greater connectivity and integration, both within ASEAN and with its external partners. By enhancing physical infrastructure, digital connectivity, and trade facilitation measures, ASEAN can create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive and expand their operations across borders. This interconnectedness not only stimulates economic growth but also fosters a sense of community and cooperation among ASEAN member states.

Ngày 1/4, Thứ trưởng Ngoại giao Đỗ Hùng Việt chủ trì họp báo về Diễn đàn Tương lai ASEAN 2024. (Ảnh: Anh Sơn)
Malaysian Ambassador to Vietnam Dato' Tan Yang Thai (5th from left, first row) attended the press conference about the ASEAN Future Forum 2024. (Photo: Anh Son)

The Southeast Asian region is an area of interest for many major global players. This is not unexpected as the interplay of political, economic and strategic dynamics that occur in this region is of consequence at a global level. This can be both a challenge and an opportunity to ASEAN. A challenge as we strive to ensure that our collective interests in ASEAN are not overshadowed by the interests of others who may want to exert their influence in the region.

The opportunity that this situation represents is for ASEAN to build on the interest, and reinforce ties where they exist, and possibly play a bridge building role where this may be required. In our efforts, ASEAN has the advantage of being able to leverage our ties with our dialogue partners, the relations of which we have long cultivated and continue to do so, for the good of the region. In essence it is this ASEAN centrality that will be key to how ASEAN will navigate the complexities of the regional and international issues and challenges.

ASEAN has always valued unity among its member states and the promotion of its centrality when dealing with issues in the region. The core value of unity among its members is prioritized as it has tangible impact on the strength of ASEAN, and the ability to carry out the plans and strategies devised to bring positive developments to the region. In this regard, unity as a core value and ASEAN centrality as an approach when dealing with issues in the region would be worth maintaining as ASEAN continues to develop.

Malaysia and Vietnam enjoy strong and friendly bilateral relations, and recently marked our 50th year of diplomatic relations last year. We have been partners at both the bilateral level and at regional level through ASEAN, and we see Vietnam making positive contributions working with other ASEAN members in working towards a strong and sustainable ASEAN Community.

We note that the ASEAN Future Forum 2024 is an initiative of H.E. Pham Minh Chinh, Prime Minister of Vietnam himself. This shows that this latest effort by Vietnam via the channel of track 1.5 diplomacy received support from the highest levels of leadership.

While this is only one example of Vietnam’s efforts at contributing towards the development of an ASEAN Community, we see Vietnam on the whole as committed and collaborative in working with the other ASEAN members towards this end.

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