Malaysia's FM: ASEAN members will not surrender competency on economic policy

Malaysias Permanent Representative to ASEAN, Datuk Hsu King Bee, agrees that over the years ASEAN's focus has expanded to enable member countries to compete within ASEAN by creating a free trade area, and outside of ASEAN through Free Trade Agreements. The ASEAN Charter was also instrumental in giving the association a legal personality and expanded its values.

“In the past we always talk about non-interference, respect for sovereignty, national identity, peaceful settlement, but with the charter, we have expanded the obligations and the values of the ASEAN member states because it is with the charter that we start talking about things like democracy, rule of law and good governance,” she told Bernama news agency.

The ASEAN Charter also provides the appointment of the Committee of Permanent Representatives (CPR) to ASEAN to support the councils for the implementation of the ASEAN Community from 2015, based on the three pillars of Political-Security, Economic and Social-Cultural cooperation.

The CPR is guided by the ASEAN Charter and the blueprint for the ASEAN Community is the “Roadmap for an ASEAN Community 2009-2015" which outlined a total of 635 action lines for implementation.

“Economically, ASEAN member countries and their people will benefit from what we are trying to build -- a community through integration among our 10 countries,” the Minister said.

However the ASEAN Community will not directly copy other models, such as the European Union, in which member countries surrender competency on certain matters like economic policies.

“For us, we are still all the 10 ASEAN member countries, have still to come to certain agreement on policy before we can implement it, we are different, we are still an association of 10 sovereign countries, we have not surrendered our competency but we try to work together,” she said.