23/05/2024 12:28 PM

From Noor Soraya Mohammad Jamal

TOKYO, May 23 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim asserts that Asia possesses the economic weight, strategic capacity, and collaborative might necessary to navigate geopolitical challenges.

Speaking at the 29th International Conference on The Future of Asia, Anwar acknowledged that the region faces more formidable challenges than ever.

Nevertheless, he emphasised that unlike three decades ago, Asia is now well-equipped “to steady our sails and right our ship.”

“Asia now accounts for more than 35 per cent of the world’s GDP and has contributed more to growth than any other region over the past decade. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) alone involves nearly a third of the world’s exports, population, and GDP – making it the largest trade bloc in the world.

“In recent years Asia has already demonstrated the positive outcomes that can be achieved through connectivity, integration and cooperation, such as mega-regional trade agreements like the RCEP and the Comprehensive Partnership for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP),” he said in a keynote address. 

Meanwhile, Anwar said progress with the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) has continued apace, thus enabling Southeast Asian economies to deepen their economic integration, contributing to the region’s role as a dynamic and open hub of economic activity.

The AEC envisions ASEAN as a single market and production base, a highly competitive region with equitable economic development, and fully integrated into the global economy.

Therefore, Anwar affirmed Malaysia's commitment to championing these ideals as it prepares to assume the chairmanship of ASEAN next year.

“On the economic front, our focus will firstly be on strengthening economic cooperation among ASEAN member states. ASEAN should use economic strength and be investment-centric.

“Recent diversification of global supply chains and foreign direct investment inflows must create tangible benefits for development while reducing disparities within ASEAN countries,” he said, adding that Malaysia will remain dedicated to fostering shared growth, bolstering regional cooperation, and maintaining its openness to trade, development and commerce.

Ultimately, Anwar emphasised that ASEAN and its partners bear a collective responsibility to keep the region dynamic, stable, and adaptable, a sentiment fully endorsed by Malaysia.

Hosted annually by Nikkei Inc. since 1995, the Nikkei Conference convenes government and business leaders to articulate their visions for the future of Asia, standing as one of the most pivotal global conferences in the region.


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