The Star's frontpage today reads:
We're now the ACNST's frontpage reads:
With the beating of native drums, Asean leaders marked the establishment of the Asean Community (AC), a regional economic power that has a greater population and diversity than North American or the European Union. Asean's combined GDP is expected to reach US$7.4 tril (about RM20 trillion) by 2020, giving it the opportunity to compete with China and India.
Making HistoryThe 3-day visit by the American President, Barrack Obama and his statements on Malaysian affairs may have taken the most intention on the social media. Too much domestic politicking that many may not realised the significant of the 27th Asean Summit that closed yesterday.
A hugely important moment in the Asean narrative occured yesterday when leaders signed twop declarations establishing the Asean Community and charting the course of the regional group over the next 10 years. The former pact will not only radically change the region's economic, social and political landscape, and improve the fortunes of more than 630 million citizens, it will potentially turn asean into the fourth largest economy in the world.
'KL Asean Summit the most significant since its inception'
By AZURA ABAS, ZAFIRA ANWAR and LAILI ISMAIL - 22 November 2015 @ 10:08 PM
KUALA LUMPUR: The 27th Asean Summit will go down in history as the most significant summit since its inception in 1967, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
This summit in Kuala Lumpur, he said, would forever be remembered as the event where all 10 Asean member states declared themselves as an Asean Community.
"What we aspired, we have achieved was Asean as a community.
"This summit will be the summit where we declared ourselves as an Asean Community.
Najib shines"Under Malaysia's chairmanship, we have delivered Asean as a community as well as the document which sets our way ahead leading us to 2025, with Asean forging ahead together," he said in a press conference after closing the 27th Asean Summit and Related Summits today.
Najib described the 27th Asean summit as a monumental event which brought Asean to the fore, stating that global recognition of Asean showed that the bloc was a success due to level of camaraderie played by its leaders.
Credit where it is due.
Malaysia's chairmanship of Asean under the leadership of Dato Najib was praised for putting together this historic effort. NST report:
Asean: A job well done MalaysiaIn his speech the last night, Najib listed some of the accomplishment of Malaysia's chairmanship:
23 November 2015 @ 8:47 AM KUALA LUMPUR:
A prominent Thai Asean analyst has praised Malaysia for a job well done during its tenure as Asean chair for 2015, saying that right from day one, the nation had taken extra efforts to ensure smooth proceedings of the 27th Asean Summits and Related Summits.
Kavi Chongkittavorn said that under the leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who helmed the chairmanship, Malaysia had taken the lead to make sure that an Asean Community would be set up by year end.
Read More : http://www.nst.com.my/news/2015/11/113244/asean-job-well-done-malaysia
It was also a moving moment for Najib.
His father, the late Tun Abdul Razak Dato Hussein was instrumental in the setting up of Asean and signed the Bangkok Declaration in 1967. He signed the Asean Community Declaration 48 years later:
Concretising the Asean community
23 November 2015 @ 11:08 AM
THE Asean Community will be a reality come Dec 31, the 2015 Kuala Lumpur Declaration on the Establishment of the Asean Community having been signed by the 10 Asean leaders yesterday.
Built on the three pillars of a Political and Security Community, an Economic Community and a Socio-Cultural Community, the Asean Community is slated as “a politically cohesive, economically integrated, socially responsible, and … truly people-oriented, people-centred”.Another key document signed was the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). NST report:
Beginning with the Bangkok Declaration almost half a century ago, the organisation intended to foster the security of Southeast Asia, reaped the dividends of the resulting regional peace and stability to become today’s area of economic prosperity. Friendship and cooperation being the cornerstone of Asean, this has naturally meant that going ahead as a community is inevitable given its collective natural advantages. Together, the member countries have a combined population of 630 million, though diverse and disparate, it is larger than Europe (500 million) and North America (444 million). It is currently the seventh largest economy of the world with a Gross Domestic Product of US$2.4 trillion which is expected to double by 2020, and by mid-21st century it would rank fourth globally. Asean has, therefore, enormous potential economically as a combined entity. Already the Asean Free Trade Area (Afta) has seen tariff barriers coming down and the advantages are evident. As Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak pointed out, Afta has been a cost-saving exercise for the manufacturing industries of the region and has improved its global competitiveness.
As stated, Asean’s success rests on its security pact which has brought peace to a region threatened with conflict. The example of the Philippines’ claim to Sabah during the lead-up to the formation of the Federation of Malaysia is an obvious example. Also, the initial partners of the region have forged ahead economically given half a century of peace and the newer members, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam — are catching up. Myanmar, meanwhile, is making strides with the recent elections won by the populist Aung San Su Kyi. If then, there is an area needing much work it is to form a cohesive socio-cultural community, which the PM describes as “something special” that “binds us, making our citizens feel that Asean courses through their veins”.
Undoubtedly a massive challenge in the face of the need to maintain national boundaries, firstly, not least because of the still uneven development between countries. Secondly, current cross-border crimes which are becoming increasingly more rampant will inhibit any intention of allowing freedom of movement. Thirdly, the patriotism thus far developed is not easily eroded for an Asean identity that is beset with restrictions. Member states, as the PM urged, must therefore “realise a politically cohesive, economically integrated, socially responsible” Asean. Only then can the people perceive of Asean as the entity delivering the benefits and thus create the attendant sense of belonging to the larger community. However, Asean’s economic successes thus far give cause for optimism. Once the comparative advantage between members is properly exploited to optimise far-reaching growth throughout Asean, the community will ensue.
RCEP negotiations to continue next yearIncluding the Asean Summit, there were altogether 10 Summits. The Star report:
By RUPA DAMODARAN - 22 November 2015 @ 12:13 PM
KUALA LUMPUR: The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations will continue into next year. In a joint statement today, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib said more time is needed to conclude the negotiations.
"Considering the challenges faced and value of constructive engagements, more time is needed to conclude the negotiations," he said. Najib said substantial progress has been achieved in the negotiations between the 10 Asean member states and partners China, India, Japan, Korea and New Zealand. Negotiations commenced in November 2012.
“We leaders agree to allow negotiations to continue and request the negotiators to intensify their efforts to conclude and achieve a mutually beneficial and high quality agreement in 2016,” said Najib, who is also the Asean chairman.
The progress areas include modalities on market access in goods, services and investments. To date 10 rounds of negotiations have been completed in addition to four ministerial level meetings.
Published: Monday November 23, 2015 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Monday November 23, 2015 MYT 7:50:35 AM
Maturing and moving forward
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s chairmanship of Asean 2015 reached its pinnacle with the successful conclusion of the 27th Asean Summit and Related Summits.
Since assuming the annual chairmanship of Asean beginning Jan 1, 2015 from Myanmar with a vision of creating a “People-Centred Asean” involving all sectors of society, Malaysia’s lead role in the 10-nation grouping was showcased in grand style here as the meetings got underway with the Asean Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) preceding the Heads of State/Government Summit.
With all Asean leaders in attendance, the leaders from Asean’s dialogue partners completed the glittering VVIP list.
The Summits involved the participation of leaders from 18 countries, namely the 10 Asean member states, Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation and the United States. It also involved the participation of United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon.
In essence, there were 10 Summits altogether, including the 27th Asean Summit, 18th Asean Plus Three Summit and the 10th East Asia Summit.
More from the Star here.Current challenges
While much of the statements reported were on terrorism in the aftermath of the Paris latest incident, Najib touched on the touchy subject of South China Sea. The Star reported:
Published: Monday November 23, 2015 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Monday November 23, 2015 MYT 7:21:53 AM
All for navigational freedom a must
KUALA LUMPUR: All countries involved in the East Asia Summit, including China, have agreed to uphold the freedom of navigation and overflight at the South China Sea.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak put in perspective that when it comes to freedom of navigation and overflight, all countries agreed that there should not be any interference and that there should be respect.
“China has also come out categorically to say that they are committed to ensure safety and freedom of navigation. So, it’s not just Asean but China wants this, too,” he said.
The East Asia Summit is a forum made up of 18 countries comprising Asean’s 10 member states and their eight dialogue partners – India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Russia and the United States.
On the stand of Asean leaders regarding the issue of South China Sea’s maritime and territorial disputes, Najib said they reaffirmed the importance of maintaining peace, security and stability.
Equally important, he said, was to enhance mutual trust and confidence and to exercise restraint in the conduct of activities, adding that Asean had agreed to speed up the conclusion of the Code of Conduct.
On land reclamation in the disputed waters, the Prime Minister said that several leaders had raised the matter and expressed concern that such action would change the status quo.
Despite the concern, Najib said that leaders expressed commitment that all countries must make sure that tensions would not rise further.
“We have also agreed that we have to find a modality or a space in international law to resolve this,” he added.
China’s Vice-Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin in a separate press conference said China did not welcome the US’ recent military exercises in the area, describing it as a “political provocation”.Beyond our mainstream media, there are exchanges within US and China. Obama urges China to halt the building of articial island.
“It is a political provocation and its purpose is to test China’s response,” Liu said.
Liu also slammed those who view the presence of its military base there as an attempt to militarise the South China Sea.
“It is a consistent position of China’s government to firmly oppose militarisation of the South China Sea,” he said.
He justified the construction and the land reclamation in the area, saying it was aimed at improving the working and living conditions of those stationed there.
“It will also create better conditions for China to move on its international obligations to provide more public services to regional countries,” said Liu.
He expressed regret that 42 out of the 100 odd islands were “illegally occupied” by neighbouring countries.
While, China snubbed the US for sending their Destroyer near China's man-made islands near the Spratly Islands last month. During the Summit, Premier Li Keqiang subtly warned countries to "avoid causing any tension in the South China Sea".
Obama has mentioned that TPP is part of their pivot strategy. Najib mentioned that TPP will commence in 2 years time.
In the meanwhile, China will grant Malaysia a 50 billion yuan or RM33.4 billion (US$7.83 billion) quota under the Renminbi Qualified Foreign Institutional Investors (RQFII) programme. [Read NST here and BT here.]
Will that be China's carrot to block TPP should it's membership application rejected?