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Be always alert to what’s ahead

THERE is a thesis that the use of Islam for political ends through violent means is an Arab phenomenon. It is an Arab problem.

As a result of oppressive and autocratic regimes in so many Arab countries which deny justice and human rights and destroy lives rather than provide hope and respect, the only way out is a call to arms and a response which returns the favour many times over.

Horror, with the genius of hate in dimension and form, against all of those regimes and all deemed to be supportive of them.

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Point for Asean to ponder on the AEC

THE Asean economy, at US$2.4 trillion (RM7.66 trillion), the seventh largest in the world, is set to become the fourth largest on its present growth trajectory by 2030 – behind only the European Union, China and the United States.

With the third largest population in the world, Asean’s economic growth will drive one of the most expansive consumer booms, making it a magnet for multinational companies from across the globe.

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Security issues at South China Sea

Protesters display placards during a rally in Manila, the Philippines recently against China's claim to areas of the South China Sea. - AFP

ONE of the black messages of the downing of MH17 is that seemingly distant disputes can cause horror and harm even to those not involved in them.

International terrorism in recent times has become an agent of unexpected and gruesome death, but it was always expected conventional conflict was more definable and better contained, by territory and by international norms and conventions.

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The Philippines gets ready for AEC

I WAS in Manila last week to give the keynote address at a conference to get small and medium enterprises (SMEs) prepared for the coming Asean Economic Community (AEC). I stayed back for the programme afterwards and attended the breakout sessions.

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Asean political-security community challenges

THE People’s Asean would not be a reality if the politics is not right – both the domestic political systems in which the people live and the wider regional order that underpins the peace, stability and prosperity of their lives.

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Taking the chair, not warming the seat

People in ASEAN costumes perform a dance during the opening ceremony of the 24th
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, 11 May 2014.


IT is apparent from a number of statements made by the Prime Minister and a buzz of activity that Malaysia will be taking the chair of Asean next year not just to warm the seat.

What is less apparent is a commitment to a clear articulation of a detailed plan for the next phase of Asean integration that truly reaches out to the people of the region which:

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To go ahead with Trans-Pacific Partnership or not?

INDEED, that is the question. But not just for Malaysia and other potential partners, now numbering 11, of the United States. It is a question for the Americans as well.

There is a discussion now whether or not the United States should still go for the “gold standard” Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Whether the United States should lower its sights to achieve its aim of a Trans-Pacific trading and investment community.

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Asean must not miss opportunities

IT was a grand summit opening banquet. No expense or effort was spared.

It was like a big coming out party which, in a sense, it was: The first time Myanmar was chairing the Asean summit since it became a member of the organisation in 1997 – 17 years, as its President U Thein Sein noted in his address.

And it would seem Myanmar was also determined there was no exhibition of discord and, actually, an openness of discussion on issues of the moment. Cambodia’s Hun Sen brought up concern over the political turmoil in Thailand. It was not set aside as an internal matter. The group view was expressed, however ineffectually, on the need to uphold democracy and to observe the rule of law which, of course, can mean all things to all people.

Yet, an expression of concern over an INTERNAL matter? Clearly there is a line for Asean which has been scrupulous in giving domestic affairs a wide berth. When a situation is reached which could disable, indeed, threaten to break up a member state, Asean would begin to get interested.

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US-Malaysia relations going forward

THE most significant achievement of US President Barack Obama’s successful visit to Malaysia a week ago is the elevation of bilateral relations to a Comprehensive Partnership.

To give substance to this strategic commitment however there has to be strong follow up at the official, private sector and people-to-people level.

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A foundation for further progress

PRESIDENT Barack Obama’s visit to Malaysia, the first by a sitting US President since 1966, will strengthen ties and set the foundation for further advances towards the two nations’ shared objectives.

Malaysia is an important partner for America: its role in the global economy is outsized for a population of about 30 million and a purchasing power parity gross domestic ­product of about US$500bil (RM1.65 trillion).

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Let’s get real about Asean community


Solidarity : (from left) Philippine President Benigno Aquino, the prime ministers of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong, Thailand, Yingluck Shinawatra, Vietnam, Nguyen Tan Dung, Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah, Myanmar President Thein Sein, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Lao Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong and Malaysian senate president Abu Zahar Ujang joining hands as they pose for a group photo at the 2013 Asean summit in Bandar Seri Begawan. -AFP

Read more: Let’s get real about Asean community