Region should remain resilient over state of global economy
By Azaraimy HH in Nusa Dua, Bal

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam saw the need for the region to remain resilient in the face of the gloomy global economy and reminded that Asean needs to keep the people informed and instil them with a sense of belonging to the Asean Community.

His Majesty said this in a titah during the discussion on "Asean Community Building and the Implementation of the Asean Charter", and commended that Asean has done well in pushing ahead with the implementation of its plan.

Nonetheless His Majesty stressed the importance for Asean to continue putting in every effort towards realising the Asean Community by 2015 and remain committed to its objectives. His Majesty added that coordination among the sectoral bodies, within and across the three pillars is a key factor in determining its success.

In this regard, His Majesty emphasised the important role of the Asean Secretariat and the need to constantly review its strength and capacity.

His Majesty then highlighted the need to ensure the region remains resilient in light of the current state of global economy and stated that the integration efforts would help to weather through these challenging times.

His Majesty commended the progress achieved with Asean partners in initiatives such as the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralisation (CMIM), Asean Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO), and the Asean Infrastructure Fund (AIF), and stated that these efforts should be continued in order to facilitate trade and investment and increase business confidence in the region.

In the morning, His Majesty attended the opening ceremony of the 19th Asean Summit at the Bali Nusa Dua Convention Centre. His Majesty was greeted by Dato Laila Utama Dr Haji Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of the Republic of Indonesia.

The ceremony was also attended by Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Bakti Diraja Dato Laila Utama Haji Awang Isa bin Pehin Datu Perdana Manteri Dato Laila Utama Haji Awang Ibrahim, Speaker of the Legislative Council; Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdul Rahman bin Haji Ibrahim, Minister of Finance II at the Prime Minister's Office; and Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Dewa Dato Seri Setia Lim Jock Seng, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade II; Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hazair bin Haji Abdullah, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports; and other senior officials.

Amidst ambitious and challenging goals, the order of business during yesterday's Asean Summit was practically still on the regional architectural building, where members continue to make progress in the path towards single community and economic integration.

As usual, the 19th Asean Summit was held in both plenary and retreat format. The first agenda was on community building, especially in political, economic and social spectrum, as well as the role of Asean in the wider region.

At the summit yesterday, Myanmar's hope to chair the regional bloc received the leaders' nod after they are convinced with Myanmar's process of democratisation has shown progress.

At the plenary session, the leaders discussed, among others, issues related to "Asean Community Building and the Implementation of the Asean Charter". These include the three pillars of Asean Community, which comprise Asean Political-Security Community; Economic Community and Socio-Cultural Community; Connectivity; and the Implementation of the Charter.

The leaders also deliberated on the topic of "Asean and the Wider Region" which focused on Asean External Relations and the East Asia Summit.

In the afternoon, His Majesty joined other leaders at a luncheon hosted by the President of Indonesia.

Later, His Majesty attended the Retreat Session. During the session, the leaders, among others, discussed on the Asean Community in the Global Community of Nation and exchanged views on regional and international issues.

After the Retreat, His Majesty attended the concluding plenary session.

Accompanying His Majesty at the plenary sessions were Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdul Rahman bin Haji Ibrahim, Minister of Finance II at the Prime Minister's Office, and Pehin Dato Seri Setia Lim Jock Seng, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade II and other senior officials.

Later in the afternoon, His Majesty attended the Asean Leaders Meeting with Asean Business Advisory Council (ABAC).

Representing ABAC from Brunei Darussalam to the meeting was Prince Abdul Qawi.

After the meeting with ABAC, His Majesty and other Asean leaders moved to the Nusa Dua 5 Room at the Bali Nusa Dua Convention Centre to witness the signing ceremony by Asean ministers. At the ceremony, Asean Foreign Ministers signed the Agreement on the Establishment of the Asean Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Centre). Signing for Brunei Darussalam was Pehin Dato Seri Setia Lim Jock Seng.

This was followed by the signing of the "Declaration on Asean Unity in Cultural Diversity: Towards Strengthening the Asean Community" by Asean Ministers Responsible for Culture and Arts. Signing for Brunei Darussalam was Pehin Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hazair.

His Majesty then joined other leaders in the signing of the "Bali Declaration on Asean Community in a Global Community of Nations".

Meanwhile, in a press conference held afterwards, Indonesian Foreign Minister, Dr RM Marty M Natalegawa described the meeting of Asean leaders as "extremely friendly, productive, positive, frank, candid and substantive" adding that there were lots of "interaction between the leaders".

"The retreat was especially constructive and especially telling indicating the state of affairs in Southeast Asia," Dr Marty said.

According to the Indonesian Foreign Minister, in the retreat, the Asean leaders discussed the role of Asean in the global community of nations, and exchanged views in various issues of both regional and international aspects. - Borneo Bulletin (18th Novempber 2011)