Jakarta (VNA) – Speaker of the House of Representatives of Indonesia Puan Maharani has affirmed that peace, security and stability has always been an important factor in the development and growth of the region.

Addressing the first plenary session of the 41st General Assembly of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA-41) that opened online on September 8, Maharani said it is crucial that Southeast Asia is kept to be peaceful, friendly and harmonious, in order to enhance cooperation to curb the spread of COVID-19 and address its adverse impact.

She added that AIPA needs to prioritise on peaceful settlement, avoid tension, exercise self-restraint and encourage confidence building measures between ASEAN member states, while emphasising on ASEAN centrality.

According to her, AIPA member parliaments should also encourage ASEAN nations to uphold the United Nation Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982 as reference in determining maritime entitlements, sovereign rights and legitimate interests over maritime zones.

In her opinion, a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) should also be fostered as the mutually agreeable platform for dialogue and consultation between ASEAN and China on the East Sea. Such good process can be reflected on the ground, she hoped.

The Speaker said the theme of this year’s General Assembly marks the increasingly important role of the parliaments especially in this time of COVID-19 pandemic, which is impacting so many lives and limiting economic activities causing the region to be in the verge of recession.

To this situation, she called on parliaments to encourage governments of ASEAN member states to deliver adequate policy to curb the spread of COVID-19, reduce greater economic impact and ensuring social welfare.

She suggested parliaments optimise their role by performing legislative duty related to the effort of combating COVID-19 and its socio-economic impact, such as issuing laws related to fiscal stimulus or strengthening social safety net.

Parliaments should also improve oversight to ensure that those laws would be implemented, and their benefits would be felt by the people, she said.

To advance as a cohesive and responsive ASEAN Community, she highlighted a need to enhance capacity to respond effectively to emerging regional challenges, including in the context of human security.

“I believe that we as one ASEAN Community will overcome this difficult time and working together in addressing other regional challenges,” she stressed.

“With the spirit of ‘Gotong Royong’, a traditional Indonesian term of working collectively, we will be able to achieve one common goal to surpass this global COVID-19 pandemic”, she said./.