21 November 2015
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and US President Barack Obama vowed on Saturday to fight the “evil” and “hateful” ideology unleashed by the Daeshgroup, whose self-claimed attacks recently in France, Lebanon and Egypt have cast a grim shadow over an Asian summit.
“We will not allow these killers to have a safe haven,” Obama said at a business conference on the sidelines of a summit of Southeast Asian leaders that Najib opened earlier. The two leaders will attend a larger summit of 18 Asia-Pacific countries on Sunday.
The summit is taking place against the backdrop of the bombing of a Russian airliner over Egypt, a suicide bombing in Beirut, a series of attacks in Paris and the slaying this week of a Malaysian hostage by militants in the southern Philippines. Najib said he was going to begin his speech by talking about the achievements of the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), of which he is the current chairman.
… Envisaged in 2002, work on the community began in 2007, and it’s already delivering benefits to the region. Najib listed them in his speech:
- Tariffs on trade in the region have been reduced to zero, or near zero, helping bring down prices of goods;
- Unemployment is down to 3.3 percent;
- Citizens enjoy visa-free travel through nine out of 10 countries;
- Citizens are allowed to work in other countries in the region in eight major sectors, including tourism.
… Tan See Seng, a professor of international relations at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, said it is true that there are no tariffs at the borders. “But once you enter … you may have to grease the palms of some people in certain ASEAN countries to proceed. These ‘behind the border’ barriers … are a key impediment slowing down the process of integration,” he said.
GPO / IDSS / Online
Last updated on 23/11/2015