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36th ASEAN Summit showcases unity and resilience - Hishammuddin

PUTRAJAYA: The convening of today's 36th ASEAN Summit via video conferencing showcased ASEAN's unity and resilience during these unprecedented times, which is in line with the 2020 Chairmanship theme "Cohesive and Responsive", said Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.

He expressed surprise that all the achievements from today's summit and this week's related meetings were achieved through virtual video conferencing and not through physical face-to-face meetings.

"Moving forward, I have instructed my officials in Wisma Putra to immediately follow up on all the matters raised today," he said in a statement today.

Hishammuddin said Wisma Putra will ensure Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin's achievement today is translated into something more concrete to jointly combat COVID-19, whether it be on shared best practices, or obtaining the medication to treat and vaccine to prevent or "deliberating with my counterparts on reviving specific sectors of our economies, either bilaterally or regionally as a bloc".

"Regardless, we at Wisma Putra are ready to rise (to) the challenge and ensure Malaysia's stand on the global stage will soar to greater heights," he said.

Hishammuddin said the Prime Minister's intervention during the Plenary Session of the 36th ASEAN Summit focused on the impacts on the economy due to the global pandemic and stressed the urgency to push for a comprehensive economic recovery plan for the region post-COVID-19.

"Prime Minister's emphasis on reviving the regional economy was received positively and translated into discussions between the leaders on more concrete decisions such as a regional 'travel bubble' and intra-ASEAN tourism," he said.

During the exchange of views on regional and international issues, the Prime Minister spoke on issues relating to the ASEAN community-building process, priorities and the implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, and also underscored the importance to address issues pertaining to the Rakhine State which was raised by most of the other leaders, the fate of the Palestinians, and the South China Sea issue.

He said the Prime Minister also joined the ASEAN Leaders' Interface with Representatives of ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) in the evening and emphasised the important role of parliamentarians in supporting ASEAN's efforts to combat COVID-19, and in promoting awareness on the ASEAN community at the grassroots level.

"On the matters discussed, our success will be determined by the strength and resilience of our bilateral and regional ties in ASEAN. Looking at how the 36th ASEAN Summit went today, I feel that Prime Minister's leadership is well-received to navigate and work closely with his fellow ASEAN leaders on a more personal basis," he said.

-- BERNAMA