PM Anwar tells Asean leaders to guard group against major powers’ divisive actions

PM Anwar tells Asean leaders to guard group against major powers’ divisive actions

JAKARTA, Sept 5 ― Asean must guard against divisive actions from major powers by constantly upholding the group’s centrality to protect all that has been achieved from being undermined by their unbridled rivalry, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said today.

Speaking at the 43rd Asean Summit Plenary Session, he said the group, where its diversity proved to be the strength, must enhance its institutional capacities, streamline mechanisms, and ensure timely implementation of its decisions.

“Asean has a unique opportunity through its plus platforms to bring together the competing parties to remind them of the need to prioritise dialogue and cooperation, to promote healthy competition and to ensure what they bring into their relations with Asean would help maintain peace, stability and prosperity in this region,” he said in his intervention.

Anwar pointed out that those outside the region have recognised Asean as one of the most successful regional organisations, particularly with regard to its ability in maintaining a region that is peaceful, stable, secure and prosperous.

“This has attracted many to establish relations with Asean, including major powers, whose rivalries are being played out right at the centre of and adjacent to our region,” he said.

Touching on the “2023 edition of the standard map of China”, Anwar said Malaysia had issued its statement clearly stating its position.

“Issues in the South China Sea must be managed in a peaceful and rational way through dialogue and consultation in accordance with the universally recognised principle of international law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Seas 1982 (UNCLOS),” he said.

On the Asean Community’s Post-2025 Vision, Anwar said the Asean Community Vision 2045 outlines a clear, long-term strategic direction for the group to achieve its goal of an Asean Community that is able to effectively respond to current and future challenges and opportunities.

He expressed hope that all leaders could agree to allow for some flexibility for necessary adjustments to be made to the vision in light of relevant developments between now and its final adoption in 2025.

“Malaysia thanks Indonesia for co-chairing the High-Level Task Force (HLTF) with Malaysia in 2023 as well as its excellent support and cooperation in carrying forward the HLTF’s work. We look forward to working with Laos next year,” Anwar said.

As the coordinator of the Asean-Gulf Cooperation Summit, he highlighted that Asean and the GCC have agreed to hold the summit in Saudi Arabia on October 20, adding that two outcome documents are proposed, which are a Joint Statement on the Asean-GCC Summit and Asean-GCC Framework of Cooperation (2024-2028).

“They are currently being negotiated by our officials. There is a proposal for an Asean-GCC Ministerial Meeting on October 19 to finalise preparations for the Summit,” he said.

On the Asean chairmanship rotation, Anwar conveyed Malaysia’s appreciation to the Philippines for its readiness to assume the Asean Chairmanship in 2026, and join consensus for other member countries to continue the rotation based on alphabetical order, unless otherwise decided by the leaders.