Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has stated that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) needs to work as a collective force to bolster its socio-economic and security strengths and harvest greater achievements.

Addressing the 2014 Putrajaya forum themed “Reinforcing regional security and stability” in Kuala Lumpur on April 14, Najib declared that a strong and successful ASEAN is deemed not only an essential economic issue but also a strategic requirement.

To that end, such institutions as ASEAN +1, ASEAN Regional Forum, ASEAN Defence Ministers’ conference with partners and the East Asia Summit are very important, providing a necessary foundation to scale up confidence, transparency and the development of principles and standards.

He also stressed that a firmly-connected and strong ASEAN will be well prepared for encountering future security challenges and playing a stronger role in promoting the global peace.

The PM pledged that Malaysia will continue its intermediary role in settling disputes within the bloc when requested.

ASEAN should continue uniting its members for a common prosperity by a network of free trade agreements to help them adapt to new emerging economic trends and also thrive on them, he said.-VNA