KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia considered the 37th Asean Summit, held via video conference, as a very successful one despite the challenge posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said despite the constrain (to meet face to face), the conference went smoothly and still managed to bring together all 10 heads of government and 10 Asean Foreign Ministers as well as representatives from Asean dialogue countries.

“From the attention given (by the leaders) to the Prime Minister’s speech, it seems that not only (do they) respect the Prime Minister; the relationship is quite good as well,“ he said at a press conference after the closing ceremony of the 37th Asean Summit, here.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin led the Malaysian delegation in the four-day summit, which draws its curtain today, virtually from here (Kuala Lumpur).

“I am confident that even if it is better face to face, the relationship we have built over the years in Asean can continue to be strengthened in any way,“ added Hishammuddin.

Hishammuddin said the most significant achievement for Malaysia at the Asean Summit this time was the agreement of all Asean countries to approve the Asean Comprehensive Recovery Framework.

The framework was proposed by Muhyiddin at the ASEAN +3 Summit on Covid-19 in April.

“This unanimous agreement not only highlights Asean countries’ respect for Malaysia. In fact, it highlighted the capabilities and leadership of Malaysia in efforts to empower Asean to face regional and global challenges, especially the Covid-19 pandemic, “he said.

The ACRF serves as the main reference to guide the strategic directions and focus areas for Covid-19 recovery in Asean, and to coordinate support for recovery efforts from Asean stakeholders, both internal and external.

The Recovery Framework is structured into five broad strategies, namely enhancing health systems, strengthening human security, maximising the potential of intra-Asean market and broader economic integration, accelerating inclusive digital transformation, and advancing towards a more sustainable and resilient future.

Hishammuddin said Malaysia, through the Prime Minister, also took advantage of the summit this time to highlight some important issues including Malaysia’s stance on issues related to the Covid-19 vaccine, the South China Sea, the crisis in Rakhine Province, and the Palestinian issue.

“Malaysia hopes that every discussion and agreement reached through this summit can be translated into a better Asean environment in terms of economic, social and security aspects,“ he said.

This year’s Asean Summit is chaired by Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc as the Chairman of Asean 2020. Brunei will host the Asean Summit in 2021.

Asean, established in 1967, comprise Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Asean dialogue partners consist of China, Japan, South Korea, India, New Zealand, Australia, Russia and the United States.-Bernama

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