A PEOPLE-CENTRED ASEAN Community is essential for a sustainable future and to ensure peace, stability and prosperity for all, His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam said in a titah during yesterday afternoon’s 34th ASEAN Summit Plenary Session held at The Athenee Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand.
Accompanying His Majesty at the plenary session was His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Mateen.
In the titah at the session, which began with opening remarks by Prime Minister of Thailand and Chairman of ASEAN General (Rtd) Prayut Chan-o-cha, followed by the presentation of the ASEAN Progress Report by ASEAN Secretary-General Dato Paduka Lim Jock Hoi, His Majesty first congratulated His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn on his coronation.
His Majesty also congratulated the Prime Minister of Thailand and the President of the Republic of Indonesia on their elections.
His Majesty stated that Brunei Darussalam fully supports Thailand’s chairmanship of ASEAN and welcomes a sustainable approach towards ensuring the long-term success of the ASEAN Community, where the work within ASEAN would “be inclusive, and the benefits, shared by the people at all levels throughout Southeast Asia”.
He noted that there are opportunities to build a more integrated ASEAN Community, including strengthening cooperation in education by facilitating student exchange programmes between institutions in ASEAN member states to build friendship and help youth understand the diversity within the region.
Other steps to foster a more integrated ASEAN, the monarch highlighted, include initiatives that will prepare ASEAN better for the digital future, and enhancing intra-ASEAN travel and connectivity by strengthening telecommunications in the region, especially in the area of mobile data roaming.
“This would greatly help businesses as well as travellers in ASEAN,” His Majesty said.
The third and final point His Majesty highlighted as being important in fostering integration is working together to address collective challenges.
His Majesty stressed that in doing so can unify the ASEAN people, a community he noted “must be given the opportunity to help one another, especially as the impact of climate change remains a great concern, and given the increased frequency of natural disasters in Southeast Asia”.
Following the Plenary Session, His Majesty attended a Gala Dinner hosted by the Prime Minister of Thailand together with other ASEAN heads of state and government.
Accompanying His Majesty at the dinner was His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Mateen.
Upon arrival at the dinner, His Majesty was greeted by General (Rtd) Prayut Chan-o-cha and his spouse, Naraporn Chan-o-cha.
His Majesty then joined other ASEAN Heads of State and Government for a group photo session.
The event at the Crystal Hall, The Athenee Tower, was held in honour of the ASEAN Heads of State and Government and ASEAN Secretary-General.
Earlier in the afternoon, the monarch also attended the ASEAN Leaders’ Interface with Representatives of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA); ASEAN Leaders’ Interface with Representatives of ASEAN Youth; and the ASEAN Leaders’ Interface with Representatives of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ABAC) at The Athenee Hotel’s Pimarn Siam Hall.
During the ASEAN Leaders’ Interface with Representatives of AIPA, the ASEAN Heads of State and Government and representatives of AIPA raised the need to enhance regional and international cooperation especially in supporting the development of the ASEAN Socio-cultural Community pillar.
The ASEAN Leaders’ Interface with Representatives of ASEAN Youth began with the opening statement by the Prime Minister of Thailand, who invited a representative of the ASEAN youth to convey her remarks.
ASEAN leaders and ASEAN youth representatives also exchanged views on the importance of education, the environment and inclusive socio-economic development.
Meanwhile, the ASEAN Leaders’ Interface with Representatives of the ABAC began with a statement by the Prime Minister of Thailand, followed by a statement from Chairman of ABAC Arin Jira. ASEAN and ABAC leaders discussed matters on advancing the Economic Community for the well-being of the people.
In addition, the Chairman of ABAC also reported on the importance of the digital economy and benefits that can be achieved through the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Accompanying His Majesty at the ASEAN Leaders’ Interface with Representatives of the ABAC was His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Mateen.
The interface sessions were also attended by the ASEAN Secretary-General.