Asean’s future cannot be determined by China and US

Asean’s future cannot be determined by China and US

SINGAPORE: Superpowers China and United States of America cannot determine the future of Asean but Asean members must maintain good ties with both the nations, said PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

“The best way forward for them (Asean) is to engage with both nations for our own survival and economic success.

“We need to maintain good cordial excellent relation both with the East and the West,” he told a dialogue at the Milken Institute Asia Summit last night.

The Port Dickson MP said this when he was asked about the future of Asean as the regional grouping faces potential division due to the rivalry between Washington and Beijing.

Anwar also is optimistic about the opportunities and “we have to look beyond the immediate problems and see whatever benefit we can obtain.”

“I’m more optimistic if you can garner the best brains within the countries… with international support, we can drive this problem.”

He downplayed the impact of the trade war on Asean member countries since the relations between them tend to be acceptable though there are challenges.

Citing on the current haze situation, Anwar said: “We in Asean need to deal with the whole idea of governments.

“I’m optimistic because of in the sense that you can get the governments in Asean to look at it. If they don’t, then there must be a sense of outrage among the public because it is affecting millions of people.”

Anwar stressed that the three affected countries — Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore — must partly shoulder the responsibility and “do something.”

“It is not a blame game between (the three countries) … some say Indonesia at fault but Malaysia’s companies are involved and Singapore has a lot of shares there.”

On the other hand, he expressed his hope that the companies involved in the haze-causing fire be held accountable for their actions.

“At least (they should) combine enough resources to help ease the problem (and) not leave it entirely to the governments,” said Anwar.

Air quality in parts of Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and southern Thailand suffered as raging forest fires in areas near Sumatra and Borneo continues.

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