Bigger role for powerhouses
By Azaraimy HH in Nusa Dua, Bali

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday highlighted the need for greater economic cooperation with the Asean Dialogue Partners, namely China, Japan and Republic of Korea, and to build the confidence of the people, especially among business communities.

His Majesty made the call at the 14th Asean Plus Three Summit held in conjunction with the 19th Asean Summit and Related Summit hosted by Indonesia at the resort island of Bali.

His Majesty underscored the significance of the Asean Plus Three relations, especially in view of the recent global economic uncertainty and the need to increase collaboration in order to enhance the level of confidence of the people, particularly the business communities.

In this regard, His Majesty emphasised the need to push forward efforts under the Asean Plus Three Framework especially the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralisation (CMIM), which would help to maintain financial stability and assist in mitigating potential impact to the members' economies.

With regards to trade and investment, His Majesty stated that priority should be given to further strengthening economic cooperation.

His Majesty also touched on the Asean Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve Agreement (APTERR), which His Majesty regarded as an important milestone as the region is frequently confronted by natural disasters.

It will serve as an important mechanism for immediate relief in times of emergencies and food shortages. In the long-term, it will also contribute towards ensuring food security.

On energy security, His Majesty highlighted that volatility in its prices raises the need to step up joint endeavours in this sector.

On education cooperation, His Majesty said that he looked forward to the inaugural meeting of the Asean Plus Three Education Ministers Meeting next year and highlighted that the meeting is timely in ensuring that quality education is provided to the young, enhancing the Millennium Development Goals. - Borneo Bulletin (19th Novempber 2011)