Historic day for Brunei
Danial Norjidi in Phnom Penh

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam consented to receive the Chairmanship of Asean yesterday and delivered a titah announcing the theme for 2013, "Our People, Our Future Together", and asserting that as chair, Brunei will work to strengthen Asean's central role in Southeast Asia.

His Majesty received the Asean Chairmanship from Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen in a sym-bolic handover that took place during the 21st Asean Summit's closing ceremony at the Peace Palace.

In the titah, His Majesty expressed appreciation to the Cambodian Prime Minister for the leadership and commitment both he and his government have given to Asean over the past year.

His Majesty added that in almost every aspect of the association, the role of the Chairman has to adapt to rapid changing events and situations.

"Cambodia's chairmanship has been in this spirit and it is much appreciated. I'm sure colleagues wish to join me in also expressing our appreciation to the Secretary-General and our Secretariat for their dedication and hard work in supporting this association."

Moving on, the monarch highlighted that this will be the fourth time that Brunei has had the honour and responsibility of chairing Asean.

"Over the years, the task of the chairman has grown in scope and complexity," said His Majesty. "This is clearly illustrated through the statistics recorded by our Secretariat which shows that the Asean community has more than tripled in size since its founding."

His Majesty added that young people now make up 40 per cent of the modern community and said that they will face the full impact of globalisation.

"The most positive and negative aspects of globalisation constitute much of the task facing Brunei Darussalam as chairman, but in carrying out our responsibilities, we are guided always by the principles of chairmanship set out in Article 32 of our Charter," elaborated the monarch.

His Majesty then asserted, "We will continue to strengthen Asean's central role in Southeast Asia by encouraging consensus without compromising any members' legitimate national interests, nor in disregarding the legitimate interests of our partners.

"Above all, we will want to safeguard the well-being of our Asean Community as a whole, as expressed in the theme we have chosen: 'Our People, Our Future Together'," continued the monarch.

"I wish to thank our fellow members of Asean for the confidence they are placing in us as Chairman for the coming year.

"Rest assured that Brunei Darussalam will do its utmost to justify that confidence," His Majesty affirmed.

Shortly after His Majesty's titah, a video was shown introducing Brunei's incoming Chairmanship of Asean for 2013.

Before His Majesty received the chairmanship yesterday, the Cambodian Prime Minister delivered a closing statement, which he concluded by saying, "I wish the Kingdom of Brunei Darussalam success in assuming the Asean Chairmanship in 2013." - Borneo Bulletin (21 November 2012)