Malaysia has fruitful year as ASEAN Chair. (Source: globalvoices.org)

Kuala Lumpur (VNA) – Malaysia has been successful in turning a new chapter in regional integration in 2015, the year it served as the Chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Malaysia has created the theme for its ASEAN Chairmanship as “Our People, Our Community, Our Vision” and identified eight priorities in pursuit of a people-centred bloc.

The priorities include officially establishing the ASEAN Community by the year’s end, developing ASEAN’s post-2015 vision, strengthening ASEAN’s institutions, steering ASEAN closer to its people, fostering the development of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), expanding intra-ASEAN trade and investment, promoting regional peace and security and enhancing ASEAN’s role as a global player.

Thanks to its drive to push for the initiatives, ASEAN leaders have endorsed the Kuala Lumpur Declaration on a People-oriented, People-centred ASEAN where all people, stakeholders and sectors of society can contribute to and enjoy the benefits from a more integrated and connected community at the 26th ASEAN Summit last April.

The country has played a leading role in successfully developing a new post-2015 Vision and its attendant documents with full and close cooperation of all ASEAN member states, Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said on October 28.

It also put forward initiatives that smooth the way for the more direct involvement of all people in ASEAN’s activities, including those from civil societies, private sector, enterprises, youth and non-governmental organisations.

Prime Minister Najib Razak believed Malaysia has succeed in completing two primary tasks the nation had set since the beginning of the ASEAN Chairmanship – developing action plans for Roadmap for an ASEAN Community and ASEAN’s post-2015 Vision. As a chair, it has pursued its commitment to promote regional peace and security through constructive dialogues and peaceful resolutions.

According to ASEAN Secretary-General Le Luong Minh, Malaysia, as one of the founders of ASEAN, has an experienced team of officials and strong commitments from state leaders to the formation of ASEAN Community.

ASEAN has fulfilled about 97 percent of all tasks in the Roadmap for an ASEAN Community to date, in which 100 percent of priority measures for the establishment of the Political-Security and Socio-Cultural Communities have been done while 93 percent of tasks for the ASEAN Economic Community have been completed.

Under Malaysia’s chair, the bloc has made significant progress towards enhancing public-private partnership in projects within the framework of Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity, the Secretary General said.

In addition, the 2015 chair has carried out various initiatives to ramp up people-to-people exchange, notably between NGOs, law-makers, businesses and young entrepreneurs, in the region.

The nation ended its fruitful year with Prime Minister Najib Razak declaring the establishment of ASEAN Community on December 31 and handing over the chairmanship of ASEAN to Laos at the 27 th ASEAN Summit on November 22.-VNA