As Asean turned 54, Malaysia's Foreign Minister Datuk Seri
Hishammuddin Hussein (pic) said the unity of Asean has enabled it to collectively overcome challenges ranging from global financial crises
to climate change to natural disasters and now, the Covid-19
In his message in conjunction with the 54th Asean Day on Sunday (Aug
8), Hishammuddin said the impacts of Covid-19 on lives and
livelihoods were devastating, from the overstretched capacity of the healthcare sector to the loss of earnings.
"Asean will never relent and (will) remain steadfast in fighting the
Covid-19 pandemic shoulder-to-shoulder with the rest of the world to
show humanity will overcome this great challenge together and emerge stronger,” he said.
Hishammuddin said the emergence of new Covid-19 variants and the
prospect that the disease would become endemic required governments
all over the world to rethink their strategies.
"As no country or region has the same capabilities and approaches in
dealing with the pandemic, a 'cookie-cutter' method may not work.
Therefore, efforts to be undertaken must be dynamic and flexible,
befitting the local needs and criteria," he said.
Since early 2020, Hishammuddin said, Asean had taken proactive steps
through a series of engagements and information exchanges among
member states and external partners, with the purpose of enhancing
regional capabilities in prevention, detection, response and
readiness to address the outbreak.
He said Asean had implemented several strategies and frameworks to
face the imminent rise of COVID-19, while mitigating its impact on
its economy and ensuring the well-being of the people.
During the Special Asean Summit on Covid-19 in April 2020, Asean
leaders had unanimously agreed on the critical need for Asean to
focus on tackling the economic and social ramifications of the
pandemic, while working towards a post-pandemic recovery plan for
At the summit, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had proposed
for Asean to formulate a regional economic recovery plan to
coordinate a regional response, he added.
Subsequently, Hishammuddin said, the Asean Comprehensive Recovery
Framework (ACRF), which serves as a guide for strategic directions
and focus for pandemic recovery and support in Asean , was adopted
during the 37th Asean Summit and related summit in November 2020.
He said that through ACRF several broad strategies were formulated
which include enhancing regional health systems, strengthening human security, maximising the potential of intra-Asean market and broader
economic integration, and accelerating inclusive digital
All these strategies were implemented within the existing frameworks
of Asean with support from all its external partners, he said.
To accelerate the recovery following the pandemic, Hishammuddin said
Asean had embarked on an effort to address the shortages of test
kits, personal protective equipment and vaccines through the Covid-19
Asean Response Fund.
The fund, serving as a pool of financial resources, would assist all
Asean member states in the detection, control and prevention of
Covid-19 transmissions as well as ensuring the safety of medical
workers and frontliners, he said.
Hishammuddin said the Asean Travel Corridor Arrangement Framework
(ATCAF), whose objective is to revive and reinvigorate economic
activities, was formulated to facilitate the movement of essential
business travellers within Asean , while strictly observing health
Hishammuddin said the pandemic’s impact on mental health could no
longer be ignored and it is another aspect that Asean is seriously
Acknowledging the importance of mental health, Hishammuddin said
Asean and its external partners had embarked on several initiatives
to share experience, exchange information on best practices, as well
as formulate policies to tackle the issue.
Asean was working hand-in-hand with the public, experts and civil
society organisations in finding the best possible solutions to
mitigate the issue of mental health, he said.
Realising vaccination was the most viable tool to emerge victorious
from the pandemic, Hishammuddin said Asean continued to call for fair
and equitable vaccine distribution to all nations, an effort which
has been repeatedly made in all of Asean's engagements.
Established on Aug 8, 1967, Asean is a regional grouping comprising
Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the
Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
|Location:||Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, UK|
|Nodes:||8 (1 / 7)|