06 January 2016
Many academics rolled their eyes at the prospect of the high-powered ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) as it seemed more idealistic than realistic. Ask the vegetable seller who goes around in a wooden cart in your neighborhood about the AEC; you would predictably see a very confused face. Last year I went around questioning government officials about joining the AEC and I was deemed a defeatist.
We should not allow pessimism to be at the forefront of the country’s approach when it comes to ASEAN. Moving forward, the country should be innovative and come up with alternatives that can be further developed amid increasing connectivity.
The country is dealing with its own domestic matters and negative sentiment toward the AEC is present party because issues at home require too much attention to maintain an influence within ASEAN. There needs to be a gradual shift when it comes to priorities — as the very success of this economic community will eventually depend on the understanding that the problem of one ASEAN state is the problem of all members.
… The importance of good governance in ASEAN was pointed out by former secretary-general Ong Keng Yong in 2005, but should be built upon into straightforward criterions that can stabilize member states regionally in the long-term. Indonesia stands at the center of the AEC and with its size, potential influence and population, should begin or aggressively assume its role as Southeast Asia’s mediator, confidant and advocate.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 07/01/2016