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PUBLISHED: May 12, 2014 7:00am

Malaysia wants Asean Secretariat to be strengthened

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Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak at the press conference after attending the 24th Asean Summit in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday. — Bernama pic

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NAY PYI TAW (Myanmar), May 12:

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday proposed that the Asean Secretariat fund be strengthened in tandem with the declaration of the institution as a community starting next year.

“In Malaysia’s view, the Asean Secretariat is not funded with the kind of funds that reflect our desire to turn it into a community,” he told Malaysian journalists after attending the 24th Asean Summit here yesterday.

Bernama reported that the Prime Minister tabled the proposal when attending the plenary session of the 24th Asean summit.

Najib said it was vital that the funds for activities, operational costs and Asean service scheme could be raised to attract a more competent workforce.

Currently, each member state contributed US$1.7 million (RM5.4 million) for the secretariat’s management.

During the summit, Najib stressed on the importance of ensuring that the Asean concept as an economic community became a reality as there were still several aspects that had yet to be realised.

“Among them are ensuring that the domestic regulation is in line with Asean’s intention to lower tariffs and avoiding non-tariff barriers that are the main obstacles for Asean to achieve an economic community.

“Any protectionist measures are in conflict with our desire to become a more competitive Asean.”

He said Asean needed to strengthen its political will, especially in ensuring consistency in domestic regulation and resolving negotiations on service agreements in the near future.

“Even though a lot has been achieved, there is much yet to be settled. We must emphasise the commitment of all countries involved.”

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