|Dr. Munir Majid, Chairman of ASEAN Business Advisory Council Malaysia (ASEAN-BAC Malaysia) (Photo: VNA)
In a recent interview granted to Malaysia-based correspondents of the Vietnam News Agency on the occasion of the 53rd founding anniversary of ASEAN, Munir, who is also Chairman of CIMB ASEAN Research Institute, and President of the ASEAN Business Club in Malaysia, stressed that as the Chair of ASEAN 2020, Vietnam has responsibly led the group to overcome current difficulties, and truly showed that it respects its role as an ASEAN member.
The theme “Cohesive and Responsive” that Vietnam introduced is so apposite in the current situation, especially in the context of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis that the world is in, he said.
Regarding achievements of the association over the last 53 years, Munir said the achievement of peace and stability in the region which is the foundation of ASEAN’s prosperity is the most important of the bloc.
ASEAN also affirmed its central position and role in resolving regional issues when the group has been the platform and organiser of cooperative, meetings, dialogues and forums with the participation of its partner countries.
Munir also mentioned measures to strengthening and maintaining intra-bloc solidarity, saying that ASEAN must speak with a single voice and be active in discussions at forums, particularly where its interests are at stake - such as the maintenance of peace and stability in the region and an open world economy.
On the one hand, ASEAN member countries need to continue their efforts to control the COVID-19 pandemic, on the other hand it must reopen the economy, restore production, and overcome effects caused by the pandemic, he said.
The Malaysian expert called on the ASEAN member countries to act as a united bloc to sustain and restart the economies.
The bloc must act to maintain more future growth in the regional market, while promoting practically regional economic integration, he went on.
According to Munir, the COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented crisis that is sweeping across the globe, and ASEAN cannot operate in a business-as-usual manner.
This is why the ASEAN Business Advisory Council and the Joint Business Councils have proposed the establishment of a High-Level Special Commission, comprised of the right-hand men of ASEAN leaders, to make decisions fast, to get the bloc to be more “responsive and cohesive”, as is the theme under Vietnam’s chairmanship, he said.