Realising innovative directions for united region

James Kon

As Brunei Darussalam assumes the chair for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC) this year, it is a vital responsibility for the nation to open a “fresh chapter in projecting innovative directions forward for ASEAN to stay united, connected, effective and pertinent for our people and our strategic partners”.

This was stated by Legislative Council member Yang Berhormat FDr Ar Siti Rozaimeriyanty binti Dato Seri Laila Jasa Haji Abdul Rahman during the handover ceremony of ASEAN-BAC 2021 chairmanship at the International Convention Centre yesterday.

Yang Berhormat FDr Ar Siti Rozaimeriyanty received the ASEAN-BAC Flag from Ambassador of Vietnam to Brunei Darussalam Tran Van Khoa, on behalf of outgoing chair Dr Doan Duy Khuong.

The occasion also saw the launch of the ASEAN-BAC 2021 theme – ‘Recover, Stronger, Together’.

“2020 has been a challenging year yet an eventful and productive year. We have held many virtual meetings and implemented substantial and detailed steps to forge ASEAN-BAC ahead,” she said.

Legislative Council member Yang Berhormat FDr Ar Siti Rozaimeriyanty binti Dato Seri Laila Jasa Haji Abdul Rahman receives the ASEAN-BAC flag from Ambassador of Vietnam to Brunei Darussalam Tran Van Khoa, as Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah and ASEAN Secretary-General Dato Paduka Lim Jock Hoi look on. PHOTO: JAMES KON

One of the noteworthy achievements, she said, “is a report titled –‘Pathway Towards Recovery And Hope for ASEAN’ which embodies the recommendations from ASEAN-BAC, Joint Business Councils and Sector Champions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, acknowledged by ASEAN Leaders during the 37th ASEAN Summit in Hanoi.

“It also represents our hope for the public and private sector to collaborate in revitalising the ASEAN economy and to formulate its growth. This is indeed our key as part of ASEAN, advancing into a new revolution together.”

On the ASEAN-BAC 2021 theme, she explained, “The theme fully aligned with the Brunei government’s theme and supports the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework which personifies and further strengthens our efforts in all fundamental areas.”

On the theme ‘Recover’, Yang Berhormat FDr Ar Siti Rozaimeriyanty said, “We pursue our support in reviving our business sectors from the COVID-19 pandemic, enhancing our private public collaboration for vaccine availability, improved our access to effective and speedy bridge financing, the creation of new markets emerging from the ‘new norm’ including Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and boost smart mentoring for digital transformation.”

On ‘Stronger’, she said, “In the recovery pursuit, we shall rope our ASEAN businesses to collectively recover stronger, uplift our economic harmonisation and reform under the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), and outlining our tactical actions in emerging Pathway 225 to build stronger businesses.”

‘Together’ highlights ASEAN voice as “one community who are more connected, robust and integrated as we move together to achieve our goals. We Care, We Prepare, We Prosper towards One Vision, One Identity, One Community. We move together towards our future – we are indeed the ASEAN Legacy”.

In view of legacy projects by ASEAN-BAC, she said, “Brunei’s ‘Harnessing Impact For Resilient Employability Digitally’ or HIRED is a project which intends to address skills gaps in ASEAN and bridging skills within the region while staying relevant by building a proper ecosystem in empowering ASEAN to meet the supply and demand’s balance of its workforce. ASEAN workforce needs to have the precise skills for a digital age to help the business community recover.”

After Brunei’s Chairmanship of the 38th ASEAN Summit this year, the nation will coordinate the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (ASEAN-BIS) 2021, where more participation from invited countries and ASEAN Dialogue Partners is expected. In conjunction with the ASEAN-BIS 2021, the ASEAN Business Awards (ABA) 2021 will also be held.

Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah witnessed the handover ceremony.

ASEAN Secretary-General Dato Paduka Lim Jock Hoi, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economy (Economy) Dato Seri Paduka Dr Haji Abdul Manaf bin Haji Metussin, Diplomatic Corps members, ASEAN-BAC members in Brunei, as well as members of chambers of commerce, business councils and associations were also present. Other ASEAN-BAC members from nine ASEAN economies and joint business councils attended virtually.