LABUAN BAJO (Indonesia), May 9 —  Myanmar, transnational crime and “job scams”  formed the hotbed of discussion among ASEAN foreign ministers at the 42nd ASEAN Summit 2023, said Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Zambry Abd Kadir.

Discussions began at the Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) on Monday, followed by the 26th ASEAN Political-Security Community Council (APSC) Meeting and the 33rd ASEAN Coordination Council (ACC) Meeting in West Manggarai city, East Nusa Tenggara province on Tuesday.  

The Five Point Consensus (5PC), which continues to be the primary strategy for addressing the situation in Myanmar, was discussed by the ministers during their initial meeting.

It needs to be fully implemented by the relevant parties and also needs to support the efforts of the ASEAN Chairman in dialogue with all stakeholders in Myanmar.

According to Zambry, ASEAN nations will continue to take the lead on humanitarian operations in Myanmar through the ASEAN Humanitarian Aid Coordination Centre for Disaster Management (AHA Centre). They also concur that violence must end right now to make this possible.

He said the role of ASEAN’s special envoy to Myanmar, which is now Indonesia’s turn, also needs to be continued to avoid problems arising when there is a change of ASEAN chairman.

The ministers also took note of the tendency of external countries (external partners) such as Saudi Arabia, Panama and Spain to establish a Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC).

 “Outside countries see that ASEAN is developing and able to move in good conditions,” he said, adding that Malaysia reiterated its support for the Maldives’ application to join the TAC.

Zambry also delivered a report on Malaysia’s position as the coordinating country responsible for organising the ASEAN-Canada Summit in September and the ASEAN-GCC in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in October.

“Malaysia has informed about its efforts at the domestic and regional level in curbing and combating this issue including the establishment of an Inter-Agency Meeting on the Coordination of the Issue of Fake Job Offer Syndicate led by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with the Ministry of Home Affairs.

In particular, he added, Malaysia focused on cross-border crime during the APSC conference, particularly human trafficking, one of the major problems in the Southeast Asian area.

“This mechanism has also engaged with various parties including INTERPOL and ASEANAPOL to help raise public awareness,” he said.

Zambry said Malaysia will also continue to work closely with Cambodia and Thailand for the purpose of sharing information, coordinating aid missions, identifying related syndicates and carrying out a comprehensive investigation to prosecute the parties involved.

Meanwhile, at the 33rd ACC Meeting, Malaysia welcomed the progress in the implementation of the “Recommendations for Strengthening ASEAN’s Capacity and Institutional Effectiveness”, as well as improving ASEAN-led mechanisms.

Regarding Timor-Leste, Malaysia also reiterated its support for the country’s application to join ASEAN and welcomed the summit to adopt the Roadmap for Timor-Leste’s Participation in ASEAN.


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