Heads of the participating delegations and Malaysian PM Najib Razak (6th, right) pose for photo at the event (Photo: VNA)

The 36th General Assembly of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA-36) convened in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on September 8 under the theme “Engaging a People-Oriented, People-Centred ASEAN Community Towards Inclusiveness”.

The event was attended by parliamentary delegations of the AIPA member countries and the observers of China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Belarus, Russia, and the European Union.

The Vietnamese delegation was led by National Assembly Vice Chairman Huynh Ngoc Son.

At the opening ceremony, AIPA-36 President and Speaker of the Malaysian Parliament’s lower house Amin Haji Mulia said the hosting of the AIPA-36 is a historic event as the ASEAN Community will officially take shape in late 2015 – the year Malaysia holds the ASEAN Chair.

He noted that at the interface meeting between ASEAN leaders and AIPA representatives last April, he, as the AIPA-36 President, called on the bloc’s leaders to make the meeting official.

Turning the ASEAN-AIPA meeting into a regular official meeting will help increase AIPA’s engagement in ASEAN related affairs, Mulia said.

He expressed belief that parliamentarians could act more to narrow the gap in international relations through parliamentary diplomacy, adding that through the regional and international parliamentary network, AIPA will serve as a valuable diplomatic channel for discussions and negotiations on many issues affecting the region.

In his speech at the opening ceremony, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak underlined that as the representatives of people, parliamentarians are able to contribute to the formation of a politically united, economically strong and socially responsible ASEAN Community.

The ASEAN integration is only truly successful should people of all 10 member nations fully participate in the process and benefit from the integration outcomes, he said.

The opening ceremony of the AIPA-36, scheduled to last through September 12, was followed by the first plenary meeting.-VNA