Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman announced on April 20 that he will raise the issue of an AEAN common time zone with his colleagues at the ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting prior to the 26th Summit in Kuala Lumpur.

He said Malaysia believes a common time zone would boost the sense of togetherness among the ASEAN people, in line with the formation of an integrated ASEAN Community by the end of this year.

Minister Anifah pointed out that among the benefits of a common time zone for the region would be the enhancement of trade and cooperation among governments and between ASEAN and other countries in Asia.

A common time zone would widen the communication time window, coordinate shared market activities, enhance flight operation systems, and improve business and banking networks in the Asian region, he added.

In January, the ASEAN foreign ministers agreed on the merit of having a common time zone for ASEAN member countries during the ASEAN Foreign Ministers Retreat in Kota Kinabalu.

The ASEAN senior officials also had an extensive deliberation on the proposal at the ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting in Kuala Lumpur on March 10.

Most ASEAN member states are still studying and consulting their respective government agencies on the ASEAN Common Time Zone proposal.

Formed in 1967, ASEAN's members include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.-VNA