Setting off on a great journey
Dedicated ministries in each country needed if Asean integration is to go ahead without leaving any behind.
KUALA LUMPUR : Asean countries should look to form a new ministry dedicated to integrating the different aspects of their economies into the Asean Economic Community by 2015 as most remain far from reaching the goals.
“The concept of Asean should be sold to the general public and one way to do so is to form an Asean ministry in each of these countries which would be in charge of the process,” Dato Sri Nazir Razak, the chief executive of CIMB Group, said at the CIMB Asean Conference last week in te malaysian capital.
He said that the current Asean Secretariat had become “impotent” and that new private-sector blood needed to be infused into the organisation in order to make it more vibrant and relevant going forward.
He added that Asean governments should come together to form a ministry that would have the task of dealing with the Asean Secretariat and also update the leaders of each county on ways to move forward.
One big problem, he said, was that not many people dare to ask the tough questions and when integration starts to take place it would create more problems. The key issues would not be tackled and no preparation would have taken place to tackle those issues.
His comments were seconded by other panelists who said that at the moment, every time there is an Asean meeting, all leaders tend to come up with plans. However, when they go back home they end up putting them in the drawers because more pressing domestic issues await their decisions.
This is where an Asean ministry can come into play _ doing what needs to be done and following up on it before the next meeting takes place.
Tan sri Andrew Sheng, president of the Fung Global Institute and a board member of Khazanah Nasional Bhd, said that although there was a greater degree of government-to-government contact among Asean members, the business-to-business and the civil society interaction was still a missing link in the planned 2015 AEC formation.
Mr Nazir said it was time for Asean to stand up despite all the turmoil it is facing, noting that it is usually during the times of crises that governments are willing to make bold changes that can shape the future of their countries.
With the possibility of yet another crisis dawning on the region and the world, now is an opportunity to take this step.
“Asean should make the changes before the region is…
Full story from Bangkok Post at http://goo.gl/Y66re
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