KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has played a major role in the 50 years since Asean was formed in 1967 to its current position in the global arena, said Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak.
He said under the leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Malaysia has continued being committed to Asean, gaining the respect of neighbouring countries.
“We are united in Asean to solving regional issues such as overlapping territorial claims, the threat of terrorism, cross-border crimes and others,” he said.
Salleh said this in his latest posting on his blog, titled “Malaysia within Asean, Respected” in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of Asean yesterday.
Salleh said starting with only five countries, namely Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia and Singapore, Asean now had a larger membership, which included Brunei (1984), Vietnam (1995), Laos and Myanmar (1997), Cambodia, (1999) , and recently, Timor Leste (2017).
“Fifty years ago, Asean’s objective was modest: to create regional collaborations for peace, progress and prosperity in the Southeast Asian region.
“Today, after 50 years together, Asean has achieved its objectives. It has succeeded in increasing collaborations in trade, security, education, sports, and science among the member countries,” he said.
Salleh also said Malaysia had played a major role in Asean humanitarian aid missions, both financially and in human resources.
These included providing assistance to Indonesia, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and the Philippines which were affected by natural disasters like in Aceh (tsunami) and Yogyakarta (earthquake), as well as being the intermediary for peace talks between the Philippine government and the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front).
“Hopefully, Asean continues to be united and we can create a 1ASEAN peace zone which is free and neutral. Congratulations Asean!” Salleh said.- Bernama