BOAO, (Hainan, China) – The enormous interest that the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has garnered is a clear evidence of Asia’s strength, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said.
Last October, Malaysia was one of 21 countries to sign up to the founding of the AIIB. The bank predicts that the number may grow to 35 in due course, he said.
In the last few weeks Britain, then Germany, France and Italy, all agreed to join as founder members.
“Europe’s largest economies have every confidence that the AIIB will play ahuge role in shaping the future. And, they don’t want to miss out on that opportunity,” he said at the Boao Forum for Asia 2015 (BFA) here today.
Asia has already proved its strength and resilience, weathering the world financial crisis far better than many other economies in large part due to what the region is already doing together.
Intra-Asian trade is flourishing â€“ in fact, globally, it is the fastest growing trade route â€“ and in 2013 it represented around 25 per cent of the continentâ€™s annual exports.
“Yes, we are diverse, in culture, race and religion. But look what we can do together,” said Najib.
“As one of the founding members of AIIB, we look forward to the signing of the Articles of Association in June,” he said, adding that AIIB would create a large fund that can be used to develop infrastructure in the whole of Asia, especially Asean.
The premier was speaking at BFA’s opening plenary session themed, “Asiaâ€™s New Future: Towards a Community of Common Destiny”. The session was officiated by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
This is the Prime Minister’s fifth official visit to China but his first appearance at the forum, modelled after the World Economic Forum held annually in Davos, Switzerland.
BFA has a fixed address in Boao, a town located next to the eastern coastal city of Qionghai in Hainan, China.
Najib, who is also Finance Minister, believed that a common destiny was no longer a dream, but within the region’s grasp with the right ingredients and sufficient will.
For Malaysia, he said BFA’s theme could not be more appropriate.
“We are chairing ASEAN this year and reaching for Asiaâ€™s common destiny complements the vision to establish an ASEAN Community by the end of 2015.
“We believe that working in partnership, respecting the principles of tolerance, dialogue, moderation, sustainability and inclusivity, and by focusing on the people â€“ just as President Xi Jinpingâ€™s Chinese Dream does â€“ this is how we can maintain growth and build our common prosperity,” said Najib, who ends his two-day working visit to China today.
The theme ‘Our People, Our Community, Our Vision’ has been adopted for Malaysiaâ€™s Chairmanship of ASEAN this year.
“All development must be inclusive and no single community should be marginalised or left behind. We will ensure that fair emphasis is given to sustainable and equitable economic development,” he said. – BERNAMA