Call to strengthen regional ties to fight COVID-19

Regional cooperation is important to strengthen the efforts to overcome COVID-19 and ensure social and economic resilience.

This was stated by Minister of Transport and Infocommunications and Chairman of the ASEAN Transport Ministers Meeting (ATM) for 2020 Dato Seri Setia Awang Abdul Mutalib bin Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Mohammad Yusof at the ASEAN-China Transport Ministers’ Special Meeting on COVID-19 via video conference yesterday.

Dato Seri Setia Awang Abdul Mutalib and Minister of Transport, People’s Republic of China Li Xiaopeng co-chaired the meeting.

The meeting sought to ensure the stability and openness of transport and logistics systems in the region amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Transport ministers from ASEAN and the People’s Republic of China, as well as the Secretary General of ASEAN also attended.

Participants exchanged views and experiences within the transport sector to mitigate the social and economic impact of COVID-19 as well as strengthening regional cooperation in the field of transport and logistics in response to the pandemic.

Minister of Transport and Infocommunications and Chairman of the ASEAN Transport Ministers Meeting (ATM) for 2020 Dato Seri Setia Awang Abdul Mutalib bin Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Mohammad Yusof during the special meeting

Dato Seri Setia Awang Abdul Mutalib touched on the strong commitment of ASEAN leaders during the 36th ASEAN Summit to implement targetted policies to address the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in the region and the world.

Transport connectivity is among one of the sectors tremendously affected by the pandemic.

According to data shared by several international bodies, there was a decrease of 48 – 61 per cent for air passengers, a loss of USD97 billion in worldwide airports revenue, a 25 per cent reduction in shipping, and a 40 per cent decrease in revenue for road freight operators.

Countries have come together through closer regional and international cooperation in addressing and mitigating the COVID-19 situation.

The minister also shared efforts and initiatives in the transport sector conducted in Brunei Darussalam to combat COVID-19 pandemic.

The minister also highlighted assistances provided to transport operators, leveraging on current technologies, and recovery efforts in the transport sector.

Brunei Darussalam welcomes the implementation of programmes and initiatives under the framework of cooperation between ASEAN-China towards achieving the goals laid out under the ASEAN Transport Strategic Plan.

The meeting resulted to the adoption of the Joint Ministerial Statement titled ‘Ensuring Smooth Transport and Logistics to Combat COVID-19 and Reactivate the Economy’ by ASEAN transport ministers and the People’s Republic of China.

In the joint statement, the ASEAN-China transport ministers reaffirmed their commitment to enhance existing partnerships including facilitating logistics activities in the delivery, supply and manufacture of essential goods during the COVID-19 outbreak. The Joint Statement also encouraged initiatives to enhance cooperation and coordination with multilateral organisations under the framework of the United Nations including the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Maritime Organization (ICAO), the International Civil Aviation Organization whil maintaining compliance with international standards in supporting logistics and transport activities.

ASEAN-China transport ministers also agreed to increase the exchange of information, knowledge and best practices, to jointly enhance the capability of pandemic control at land border crossings, seaports and airports whilst ensuring health precautions are in place.

Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications (MTIC) and Chair of the ASEAN Senior Transport Officials Meeting (STOM) and STOM Leader for Brunei Darussalam Haji Mohammad Nazri bin Haji Mohammad Yusof, and senior officials from MTIC and other departments and authority were also present.