Brunei hands over Asean Chairmanship to Myanmar
Danial Norjidi

HIS Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam officially handed over the Asean Chairmanship to U Thein Sein, the President of Myanmar, marking the conclusion of Brunei’s term as Chair.

The handover took place in a ceremony that saw His Majesty pass the gavel symbolising the chairmanship to Thein Sein.

The monarch began the proceedings with a titah, in which he expressed his appreciation to everyone attending the event to witness the important moment of the official handover.

“This year Brunei Darussalam has been honoured to have chaired Asean for the fourth time, and the task has been both challenging and rewarding for us,” His Majesty said.

“Thanks to the support, commitment and friendship from our fellow Asean colleagues, partners and friends, Asean has continued to move towards realising its community goals and begun charting its future beyond 2015.”

His Majesty then thanked the Asean leaders for their support over the course of Brunei’s Chairmanship this year.

“Last year in Phnom Penh, Brunei received kind words of encouragement and support from Prime Minister Hun Sen before we received the new role of Chairman,” His Majesty said. “Now, in handing over the Chairmanship of Asean to Myanmar, I offer the same unwavering support.

“I am sure my colleagues will also join me in extending our full support for Myanmar’s Chairmanship next year,” added the monarch.

“I am confident that under the able chairmanship of President U Thein Sein, and through our close cooperation and shared determination, Asean will continue to build upon our existing achievements and make further progress towards our vision of a peaceful and prosperous region in the interests of our people and our future together,” His Majesty concluded.

After receiving the gavel from His Majesty, President Thein Sein spoke, in which he congratulated His Majesty, the Government and people of Brunei for a successful year of chairing Asean.

“I am very pleased that Asean is able to make notable achievements again under Your Majesty’s able leadership,” he said.

“Brunei Darussalam has contributed greatly to Asean’s efforts towards a people-centered Asean. Brunei has also shown its leadership by taking various people-oriented initiatives that will bring benefit to our peoples.”

He noted that Asean has made strides forward towards implementing the Asean Community by 2015, noting actions taken on youth employment, disaster management, social protection and food security.

“It is a great honour for Myanmar to take over the chairmanship from Brunei Darussalam, which has strengthened its role in steering Asean on the right track towards the Asean Community,” he continued.

Myanmar’s turn at the helm of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations comes amidst international plaudits for a number of dramatic political reforms, and their taking on the chairmanship is a strong show of support from the other nine Asean member states.

The president also revealed yesterday that the theme of Myanmar’s Chairmanship next year will be “Moving forward in unity in a peaceful and prosperous community”.

“In the course of assuming the chairmanship in the coming year, we will try to build on the achievements made by the Asean leaders, and will carry on the work to complete the remaining agendas,” he added. - Borneo Bulletin (11 October 2013)