TOKYO: Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has taken his fight against corruption to the regional level, by inviting the 10 Asean countries and Japan to join the Kuala Lumpur-based Anti-Corruption Academy.
The Prime Minister said the regions development and financial resources would suffer if member countries were inflicted with corruption and crime.
He offered Asean nations to use the academy, scheduled to be operational by the end of the year, as a platform to fight the social disease.
I offer them to participate in the academy of anti-corruption. We must join hands, he told Malaysian journalists at the end of the two-day Japan-Asean commemorative summit here, yesterday.
Abdullah proposed that Japan provide financial support for the academy, of which the Malaysian Government had allocated RM17mil.
Early this month, Abdullah said the academy would be used as a regional centre for anti-corruption capacity building, promoting the best practices in investigations, monitoring and enforcement, and in newer areas such as forensic accounting and forensic engineering.
The invitation from Abdullah is timely as it came after Malaysia signed the multilateral United Nations Convention Against Corruption in Merida, Mexico, on Tuesday, with an agreement to co-operate with signatory countries in every aspect, including prevention, investigation and prosecution of offenders.
Abdullahs proposal received immediate support from his Singapore counterpart, Goh Chok Tong, who described the call as valid during the summits plenary session yesterday.
The leaders wrapped up the summit by adopting the Asean-Japan Plan of Action and the Tokyo Declaration, containing a host of measures and initiatives aimed at forging and deepening a dynamic partnership in the 21st century.
Among others, the leaders declared to further deepen and broaden Asean-Japan relationship, natural economic complementaries, social and cultural affinities, including closer people-to-people contacts and exchanges.
They also pledged to enhance co-operation through closer consultation and adherence to the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and international law, and commend the purposes, principles and spirit of the Treaty of Amity and Co-operation in South-East Asia.
To help its Asean partners, Japan declared its willingness to give high priority to Asean's economic development and integration efforts as it strives to realise the Asean Community.
Abdullah also called for Asean and Japanese participation in the Kuala Lumpur-based South-East Asia Regional Centre for Counter-Terrorism.
The leaders adopted the support for the centre, in the 20-page Plan of Action, saying it would hold a joint meeting in Malaysia.
They also agreed to provide training to law enforcement officials from Asean countries as part of the capacity building programme against terrorism.
Abdullah said Malaysia also called for closer co-operation against organised crime, piracy and money laundering.
We need to address these concerns as they hinder the development of the region, he added.
Abdullah described the summit as fruitful and productive, saying that the two documents covered a comprehensive area of co-operation between Japan and Asean.
We are assured with Japanese reiteration that Asean remains the cornerstone of Japans aid policy. We hope that Japan would continue to remain fully engaged in the continued growth and development of Asean, he said.
He said more than 100 programmes and activities had been lined up for implementation under the two documents, which he described as documents of references.
Abdullah also commended Japan for formally announcing its intention to accede to the Treaty of Amity and Co-operation, which is a non-aggression pact.
Japan agreed to help Asean members to fight infectious diseases under the Okinawa Infectious Diseases Initiative and to set up an Asean-Japan Information and Human Network.