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Malaysia-Indonesia/Thailand/Vietnam Relations Towards Strengthening Asean Regionalism - Asean: The Way Forward


The Foreign Policy Study Group (FPSG) in collaboration with the Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations (IDFR) and Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF) organised a two-day Roundtable Conference entitled, “Malaysia-Indonesia/ Thailand/Vietnam Relations towards Strengthening ASEAN Regionalism-ASEAN: The Way Forward” at IDFR from 7-8 March 2012. The Forum aimed to enhance the people-to-people contact among ASEAN countries and also to hear from the young voices of ASEAN on their dreams and hopes for the future of ASEAN.

The Roundtable Conference commenced with the Opening Remarks by YBhg. Tan Sri Razali Ismail, Chairman of FPSG and YBhg. Dato’ Ku Jaafar, Director General of IDFR, followed by an Opening Speech by YB Senator Tan Sri Abu Zahar Dato’ Nika Ujang, President of the Senate, Upper House, Parliament of Malaysia. The Conference was attended by distinguished speakers and guests from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand as well as Vietnam and also present was H.E. Ong Keng Yong, the former Secretary General of ASEAN Secretariat, who is currently the High Commissioner of Singapore to Malaysia. The Roundtable Conference comprised of four (4) Roundtable Sessions and one (1) Session for Youth. 

Roundtable Session 1 was moderated by Ambassador Nazaruddin Nasution, Director, Institute of International Studies, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, UIN Syarif Hidayatullah and the guest speakers were Dr. Tomotaka Shoji, Senior Research Fellow, National Institute for Defence Studies Japan (Japan’s Approach toward ASEAN amid the US-China Bipolarity); Ambassador Prof. Dr. Hashim Djalal, International Expert on Law of the Sea (Dispute Settlement and Conflict Management in the South China Sea); Mr. Songsak Saicheua, Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission, Royal Thai Embassy in Kuala Lumpur (Thailand and ASEAN Community, Asian Regional Architecture) and BA Hamzah, Academician, National Defence University of Malaysia (ASEAN Security Community in 2015: An elusive quest?).

Roundtable Session 2 convened in the afternoon and was moderated by Dr. Hoang Anh Tuan, Director General, Institute for Foreign Policy and Strategic Studies Vietnam. The guest speakers were Ambassador Le Cong Phung, Senior Adviser, Institute for Foreign Policy and Strategic Studies Vietnam (Utilising Members of ASEAN); Dr. Pongsak Hoontrakul, Senior Research Fellow, SASIN of Chulalongkorn University, Thailand (AEC 2015, ASEAN Connectivity & The Way Forward); Ambassador Ibrahim Yusuf, Chairman, Executive Board, Indonesian Council on World Affairs, ICWA (ASEAN: The Way Forward-People-Centered Asean); Assoc. Prof. Dr. Azhari Karim, Director, Centre for Policy Research and International Studies (CenPRIS), Universiti Sains Malaysia (The ASEAN Way-Conflict Avoidance or Conflict Resolution? - Its Future in the Community. 

 The first day of the Conference concluded with the Signing Ceremony of two Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between FPSG and the Indonesian Council on World Affairs (ICWA), Indonesia, as well as FPSG and Institute of Foreign Policy and Strategic Studies (IFPSS), Vietnam. The MoU would be the jumpstart for further cooperation and intellectual exchanges between FPSG and the institutes.

The second day of the Conference started with the Roundtable Session 3 moderated by Y.Bhg Dato' Dr. Ahmad Mokhtar Selat and the speakers were Dr. Hoang Anh Tuan (Repositioning ASEAN in the Changing Power Relationship in the Asia Pacific); Ambassador Nazaruddin Nasution (ASEAN Community 2015, from Socio-Cultural Perspectives)and Dr. Samart Thongfhua, Dean, Faculty of Political Science, Prince of Songkhla University, Thailand(Thai Economic Institutions: Some channels for Thailand-ASEAN Economic Community).

 The last Roundtable Session was moderated by Dr. Pongsak Hoontrakul and the speakers were Prof. Dr. Musni Umar, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, UIN Syarif Hidayatullah (Education Democracy and Economic Democracy: ASEAN the Way Forward), Mr. Dinh Nho Hung, Assistant Director of the Policy Planning Department (IFPSS) (Time for Bold Action for AEC) and Dr. Lili Yulyadi, Lecturer, Department of South East Asian Studies, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University Malaya (Constructivism in Southeast Asian Regionalism: Indonesia - Malaysian Relations as a case study).

The last session was the Session for Youth moderated by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Azhari Karim and the young speakers were Mr. Muhammad Habib Akbar, Indonesia (The Future of ASEAN Through the Youth People: Creating Our Future Together); Ms. Harmina Montang, Indonesia (Empowering ASEAN Through Indonesian Youth);  Mr. Trimizi Yama, Thailand (The Role of ASEAN Youth In Promoting ASEAN Community); Ms. Apichaya O-In, Thailand (Youth Participation in Development: Southeast Asia Experience and Thailand Perspective); Mr. Ekraj Sabur, Thailand (Surmounting Nationalism to Achieve ASEAN Regionalism), Mr. Lai Anh Tu, Vietnam (Preventive Diplomacy in SEA: Youth's Perspective and Initiatives); Ms. Nguyen Thuy Hang, Vietnam (A Global Role for ASEAN: Can The Aspiration Come True?); Mr. Collins Chong, Malaysia (ASEAN at the Defining Crossroads: Issues, Challenges and The Way Forward) and Ms. Rafiqah Majeed, Malaysia (ASEAN Way and Conflict Resolution).
The Conference concluded with comments and observations from members of the floor and it was mutual hope of everyone that people-to-people contact will be strengthened and for the ASEAN process to involve participations from all walks of life in the way towards ASEAN Community 2015, to ensure all ASEAN citizens will move in one direction for one common purpose.