Malaysia believes in ASEAN’s role in addressing COVID-19 challenges hinh anh 1Malaysia’s Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin (AFP/VNA)

Kuala Lumpur (VNA) - Malaysia firmly believes that the ASEAN continues to play a critical role in addressing challenges brought by the pandemic through the implementation of the many initiatives discussed through the various ASEAN-led mechanisms, the Malaysian News Agency (Bernama) reported.

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, in his intervention at the 37th ASEAN Summit plenary session held virtually on November 12 by host Vietnam, said it is important to ensure ASEAN’s initiatives serve as a platform for ASEAN to work collectively with external partners and other competent parties in alleviating and countering the impacts of COVID-19 in the region.

The Malaysian leader stressed that this is especially true when it comes to the development and access to COVID-19 vaccine. According to the leader, ASEAN must work hand-in-hand with relevant international organisations such as the World Health Organisation and countries to ensure the vaccine, once available, is affordable, accessible and equitably shared by all.

He also noted that it is imperative now for ASEAN, a regional bloc comprising mainly developing states, to focus on the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework (ACRF). ACRF is one of the three official documents that will be released at this summit.

The PM went on to say that ASEAN should strategise its approach in reviving the economy, trade and investment by embracing the new norm of conducting its economic engagement including through technology such as digital platforms.

In regard to the recent disruption of the global supply chain caused by COVID-19, Prime Minister Muhyiddin said as a region blessed with rich natural resources, it is time for ASEAN to look into possible ways to strengthen food security in the region, and seize opportunity to fortify the agro-foundation in the region./.