KUALA LUMPUR – ASEAN governments must materialise cohesive plans to quickly implement measures or “travel bubbles” between “green” member states amid the COVID-19 pandemic to shore up investments and create job opportunities, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said today.
Possibly in the near future, the region can also open up the borders for intra-ASEAN tourism to flourish and deliver the much-needed financial boost into the national economies, he said.
“The public health crisis has had profound impacts on the economy and rebooting our regional economy must be our utmost priority to mitigate disruptions to trade and strengthen the resilience of our regional supply chains,” he said at the 36th edition of the ASEAN Summit that was held virtually due to COVID-19.
Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc chaired the meeting. Vietnam is the ASEAN chair for 2020.
“Malaysia feels very strongly that our governments must materialise cohesive plans to quickly implement measures or ‘travel bubbles’ between ‘green’ ASEAN Member States to shore up investments and create job opportunities for our people,” Muhyiddin said.
As proposed by Malaysia in April, ASEAN must formulate a Regional Economic Recovery Plan, the Prime Minister stressed: “If we don’t protect our regional economies, wider disparity in growth among the ASEAN countries may harm our objective of greater economic integration.”
The region must act swiftly and decisively in coordinating a regional level response in revitalising the economies, he said, adding that, “A well-coordinated response will ensure we emerge this crisis stronger together, much like how we have weathered previous crises”.
Muhyiddin also said that together with other ASEAN colleagues, Malaysia will also work towards the conclusion and signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) this year.
“Malaysia stands ready to engage with India on the latter’s continued participation in the RCEP, which we believe would contribute to regional prosperity,” he said.
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