Najib calls for a new Asean

  • Nation
  • Friday, 18 Mar 2005

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has called for a comprehensive overhaul of the Asean institutional framework. 

In making the call, the Deputy Prime Minister said there should be an updated version of Asean that would operate on the basis of clear and transparent rules, effective mechanism for implementation and enforcement of decisions.  

“What we need is a bigger, more powerful engine to drive the new Asean,” he said yesterday in his keynote address at the opening of the 2nd Asean leadership forum. 

Using a car as an analogy, he said, what the grouping has done all these years was to fine tune the engine of the “Asean car” adding extra features like sports rims, spoilers, a CD player, leather seats and tinted windows. 

“We have a rather nice looking car, but an underpowered one. As a result, driving long distances has become quite challenging, what more when carrying a full load of passengers. 

“With the present Asean institutional framework, our ambition to realise an Asean community by 2020 could become an uphill drive,” he added. 

This was one of three approaches he outlined to shape a prosperous, secure and stable Asean.  

The other two were an integrated and balanced implementation of the plans of action of the respective communities that made up the Asean community as well as effectively engaging Asean’s external partners. 

Najib said Asean should demonstrate “greater courage” to remove barriers to free flow of goods, services and skilled labour and capital and transform the grouping into a highly competitive region functioning as a single market and production base.  

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