The 42nd ASEAN Summit was very meaningful as member countries have succeeded in strengthening regional cooperation, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Anwar said this included cooperation in the fields of economy, electric car ecosystem, conducting trade through the use of local currencies and inter-country digital payments to make ASEAN stronger.

The various forms of concrete cooperation reached proved that ASEAN was still strong although certain quarters had the perception that the regional bloc was quite weak in tackling current challenges, he told the Malaysian media at the end of the Summit here today.

According to Anwar, ASEAN leaders also agreed to ensure that the ASEAN Outlook on Indo-Pacific (AOIP) remains the main mechanism in managing relations among countries in the Indo-Pacific region.

He said AOIP is more balanced and gives priority to regional security, stability and prosperity, apart from promoting open, inclusive and more sustainable cooperation.

“The leaders have agreed to consolidate their stand and defend the position of ASEAN as a free zone and avoid getting involved in big power rivalries,” he added.

Anwar said his call for the establishment of an Asian Monetary Fund to strengthen the region’s economy and security network had received positive response from ASEAN heads of state.

However, there was no special discussion on the proposal, which was still at the early stage, he said.

On the Myanmar issue, Anwar said the regional leaders had agreed to defend the Five-Point Consensus (5PCs) principle in resolving the controversial and complicated conflict as well as managing humanitarian assistance.

According to Anwar, the resolution method adopted was based on international principles and negotiations with all interested parties in Myanmar with the aim of promoting progress in the implementation of 5PCs.

“Our stand is clearer because any delay in settling the Myanmar issue will burden the Rohingya ethnic group and also Malaysia, which has been saddled with more than 200,000 refugees,” he said.

Anwar and his wife Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail departed for Malaysia from the Komodo International Airport at about 2 pm.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency