Malaysia poises to bolster regional cooperation as ASEAN Chair in 2025 – analyst

Malaysia poises to bolster regional cooperation as ASEAN Chair in 2025 – analyst

By Voon Miaw Ping

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 27 (NNN-Bernama) — Malaysia, as a dynamic geopolitical player, is expected to emphasise on forging stronger regional cooperation among member states of ASEAN in the face of emerging regional and international geopolitical uncertainties when it assumes the grouping’s chairmanship in 2025.

Deputy Executive Director of Asia Europe Institute (AEI), Universiti Malaya Associate Prof Dr Roy Anthony Rogers said the chairmanship would bring greater importance of Malaysia’s role in regional affairs.

He said this because Malaysia has been one of the founding members of ASEAN while the grouping has also been a cornerstone of the country’s foreign policy since the 1970s.

Nonetheless, he said the ongoing competition between the US and China, South China Sea and the Myanmar crisis which erupted in 2021 would be among the major challenges that Malaysia would have to manage when it becomes ASEAN Chair in 2025.

He noted that during Malaysia’s chairmanship in 2015, ASEAN had adopted “ASEAN 2025: Forging Ahead Together” a blueprint to deepen cooperation between member states in working to build a ASEAN Community by 2025.

“I think this document should be the basis for us to further enhance this cooperation…to further strengthen the community spirit within ASEAN, and moving ahead to the new challenges,” he said.

He said this on Bernama TV’s programme “Perspective: Malaysia As The ASEAN Chair in 2025”, on Friday.

He also expects Malaysia to adopt the Track 2 diplomacy more extensively to enhance cooperation between member states.

While Track 1 Diplomacy involved diplomatic channels at the government-to-government level, he said Track 2 diplomacy, which normally participated by entities such as business community and think-tankers, also play a crucial role providing constructive ideas and influencing decision makers at the higher level.

Roy Anthony also expressed his optimism that as ASEAN Chair in 2025, Malaysia will give strong emphasise in strengthening economic cooperation in the sub regions such as the Indonesia-Malaysia-Singapore Growth Triangle (IMS GT), and the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP EAGA).

“These are the growth areas that Malaysia has given a lot of emphasis now. Our government is giving a lot of emphasis too to Sabah and Sarawak, as BIMP EAGA, which have a lot of potentials especially when Indonesia wants to move its capital to Borneo Nusantara.

“So I sincerely hope that these projects that have been already initiated from years back can be further strengthened and it will help to encourage cooperation among the ASEAN countries,” he said.

He said apart from within ASEAN member states, Malaysia should lead ASEAN to work closely with other regional organisations, including Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), European Union as well as the Gulf Countries.

Laos would hand over the ASEAN chairmanship baton for 2025 at the ASEAN Summit from October 8 to 11.

Malaysia has previously held ASEAN Chairmanship four times, in 1977, 1997, 2005 and 2015.

ASEAN which was incepted on Aug 8, 1967, today comprised 10 member states – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam. Timor-Leste’s full membership into the grouping is pending.


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