The ASEAN will continue to be the cornerstone of Malaysia’s foreign policy during its 2015 Chairmanship year, said Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman at a January 27 press conference on the ASEAN Foreign Minister’s Retreat (AMM Retreat).

The minister noted that regional stability and deeper integration will contribute to enhancing Malaysia’s credibility in international affairs.

At the retreat, the country will share its eight priority areas for the association as this year’s chair, including the formation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and the finalisation of plans of actions as set in the three blueprints for AEC formation, the AEC Vision and related documents.

Malaysia also seeks to promote exchanges among people of ASEAN countries to enhance the connectivity and prosperity of the bloc which has a population of 625 million people, as well as nurture the development of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which account for 97 percent of the regional business community.

Themed “Our People, Our Community, Our Vision”, Malaysia’s vision throughout its chairmanship year is to create a “people-centred ASEAN”, involving all sectors of society in the bloc’s activities, the Malaysian Foreign Minister emphasised.

He said a “people-centred ASEAN” reflects the aspiration of its people for a community of good governance, transparency, high living standards, sustainable development, women empowerment and greater opportunities for all.-VNA