KUALA LUMPUR: United strategic cooperation between member nations is the key to ensuring Asean interests are not ignored on the global stage, says Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz (pic).
The International Trade and Industry Minister said that a mutual strategic cooperative front would give Asean countries a louder voice for their concerns.
"All member countries need not only be united but also cooperate strategically to ensure that the common interests of Asean are not underestimated.
"This is especially true in terms of ensuring compliance with Asean's environmental, social and administrative principles.
"We can achieve so much more if we move together and speak out on economic issues related to our common interests," he said in a Facebook post on Tuesday (March 21).
He also said in pursuing rapid regional growth, Asean countries must ensure small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are not forgotten in favour of big industry players.
"We must also ensure that any growth in trade or investments is inclusive and benefits all parties – not just big businesses but SMEs as well," he added.
Tengku Zafrul is currently in Jakarta, Indonesia for the 29th Asean Economic Ministers' (AEM) Retreat.