KOTA KINABALU: ASEAN member countries must continue to work together in the spirit of friendship and togetherness towards the establishment of the ASEAN Community.
In making this call, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said this was important as ASEAN had a huge task ahead of them.
“Malaysia is deeply honoured to take the helm of ASEAN this year. We are mindful of the challenges ahead of us in the coming months, which will see key ASEAN aspirations come to fruition.
“Never one to rest on our laurels, ASEAN will set our sights on yet bigger aspirations for the years to come,” he said at the welcoming dinner for the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat 2015 at Magellan Sutera Harbour Resort here, today.
The dinner was also attended by ASEAN Secretary-General Le Luong Minh and Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, as well as Foreign Ministers and delegates from ASEAN countries.
Anifah said 2015 would be a historic and deeply meaningful year as decades of regional integration efforts would finally culminate in the establishment of the ASEAN Community by end of this year.
“Tomorrow, I will share with you Malaysia’s priorities for 2015. I look forward to having a full and frank exchange of views on how we can move the ASEAN agenda forward in the months ahead,” he added.
Anifah also commended Myanmar especially his counterpart, U Wunna Maung Lwin, for the incredible chairmanship of ASEAN in 2014.
“Your excellent stewardship of our association and the unstinting efforts you expanded in further advancing the ASEAN agenda last year is indeed highly commendable,” he said.
Malaysia is chairing ASEAN in 2015 after taking over from Myanmar, at an important time where the establishment of the ASEAN Community is scheduled by the end of this year.
The two-day Asean Foreign Ministers’ Retreat, held at the Sutera Harbour Resort here until tomorrow, will be the curtain-raiser for the series of ministerial and related meetings under Malaysia’s ASEAN chairmanship this year.
Themed ‘Our People, Our Community, Our Vision’, Malaysia’s vision throughout the chairmanship is the creation of a ‘people-centred ASEAN’ involving all sectors of society in the grouping’s activities.
Anifah took the opportunity to express his appreciation to the Sabah State Government for graciously offering to host the Retreat.
“It is the first meeting in our calendar for 2015, and I had wanted to welcome all of you to my home state, which is the closest approximation I could muster to inviting you to my own house.”
“Therefore, Datuk Seri Musa’s gracious offer to host this meeting in Kota Kinabalu has in fact given me my first wish for the year,” he added.
At the event, Anifah, Musa and Pos Malaysia Covering Group Chief Executive Officer Azlan Shahrim jointly launched the series of commemorative stamps and philately items in conjunction with Malaysia’s chairmanship of ASEAN 2015.
The design of the stamps will portray the chairmanship theme which is “Our People, Our Community, Our Vision”. The stamps will be available in denominations of 60 sen, 80 sen and RM1.20.
The ministers and delegates were entertained with Sabah ethnic groups traditional music and cultural performances. — BERNAMA