The proposal was put forth during the Special Asean Summit on Covid-19 here on Tuesday (April 14) via a video conference chaired by Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and participated by heads of government of the bloc’s 10 member nations.
In a statement today, the Prime Minister’s Office said the Asean economic recovery plan should contain measures to ensure a robust supply chain for the region’s 600 million people.
"This includes ensuring a smooth flow of medical supplies, food and essential goods as well as critical infrastructure to ensure the smooth flow of trade whether by air, land or sea,” it said, noting all countries face similar complications and Asean member states should work together to ensure no one is left behind.
Asean nations should also not impose unnecessary restrictions that can hamper the smooth flow of medical supplies, food and essential items, it added.
Malaysia also urged Asean member countries to raise their level of preparedness in order to face the new regional landscape.
"Asean cannot be allowed to revert to its comfort zone, but should instead develop the Southeast Asian region into a new growth centre and powerhouse, not just for its 600 million inhabitants but also for the world,” it said.
Malaysia also supports the establishment of the COVID-19 Asean Response Fund aimed at boosting existing emergency stockpiles for any future outbreaks, the statement said, adding Asean should continue to develop the region’s reserves of medical supplies, besides using relevant reserve warehouse space to support the needs of member nations in public heath emergencies.
It said the various Asean mechanisms led or hosted by Malaysia, such as the Asean Emergency Operations Centre Network for Public Heath Emergencies (Asean EOC Network) and Asean Risk Assessment and Risk Communication Centre (ARARC), have proved their effectiveness in resolving crises.
"Malaysia stands ready and resolute with Asean to combat this pandemic together,” it added. - Bernama
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