KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman tonight paid tribute to ASEAN’s founding fathers for their vision in uniting countries in the region, nurturing peace and stability along the way.
Addressing a welcoming dinner for the 48th ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting (AMM) here tonight, he noted that they put aside differences to focus on what could be done collectively to improve the well-being of their people.
“I believe that we owe a debt of gratitude to our founding fathers who had the vision to envisage cooperation and collaboration among a seemingly disparate lot of countries,” he said.
Anifah said they took important confidence building measures to promote peace and stability in a region recognised as a cockpit of international rivalry.
“It’s no accident that ASEAN has always placed a high premium on the scrupulous observance of inter-state relations, respect for territorial integrity and the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of another country,” he said.
These values, Anifah said, had helped create mutual trust and confidence among ASEAN member states.
He said that once a certain level of comfort had been achieved, increasingly deeper levels of cooperation had become possible.
“I believe that in the days and months ahead, we will continue with this spirit of cooperation and understanding and achieve our final objective of becoming One ASEAN Community,” he said.
Anifah pointed out that after 48 years of existence, ASEAN today was a dynamic grouping of countries which had shown a significant shift in mindsets over the years.
“From simple coexistence, ASEAN has rapidly moved towards becoming a community of nations,” he added.
The 48th AMM is scheduled to be opened by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at the Putra World Trade Centre here tomorrow.
ASEAN or the Association of Southeast Asian Nations was established on Aug 8, 1967 with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration (Bangkok Declaration) by founding members Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.
They were subsequently joined by Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia.
The signatories of the declaration back in 1967 were Indonesia’s Adam Malik, Malaysia’s Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, Narciso Ramos of the Philippines, Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam and Thanat Khoman of Thailand. – BERNAMA