Singapore Speaker of Parliament affirms AIPA’s role in supporting ASEAN Community hinh anh 1At the opening ceremony of the 42nd AIPA General Assembly (Photo: VNA)

Singapore (VNA) - Platforms such as the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) are crucial to communicate the importance of supporting a more integrated, digital and forward-looking ASEAN Community, Speaker of the Parliament of Singapore Tan Chuan-Jin has said.

He made the remark during the first plenary session of the 42nd AIPA General Assembly, which was held virtually on August 23.

In his speech, he stated that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the digitalisation of society, which rapidly transforms the way people all live, work and play. 

“In this regard, this year’s ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly theme of ‘Forging Parliamentary Cooperation in Digital Inclusion Towards ASEAN Community 2025’ is especially pertinent,” he said. 

Parliamentarians must continue to support and advocate for inclusive policies that help ensure technology remains accessible for everyone. 

The Singaporean legislator stated that the COVID-19 pandemic has claimed the lives of millions, devastated economies in the region, and turned back years of social progress and development. 

However, in these dark times, the strength and resilience of ASEAN shone through. Member countries have risen to the occasion to support one another through the adoption of the Hanoi Plan of Action on Strengthening ASEAN Economic Cooperation and Supply Chain Connectivity in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the establishment of the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund, as well as the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework and its Implementation Plan. 

Tan also called on parliaments in other countries to support the swift domestic ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement (RCEP). 

In regards to the East Sea issue, the Singaporean Speaker underlined Singapore supports a rules-based ASEAN that supports multilateralism and upholds international law, including maintaining peace and stability in the waters, upholding the right of all states to freedom of navigation and overflight, and supporting the peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with universally recognised principles of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

He said that the world is closely watching ASEAN’s response to the situation in Myanmar. 

“In this regard, Singapore welcomed the appointment of Brunei’s Minister of Foreign Affairs II Dato Erywan Pehin Yusof as Special Envoy of the ASEAN Chair to Myanmar,” Tan said. 

Singapore hopes that the Special Envoy will be given access to all parties concerned in order to facilitate meaningful dialogue among the stakeholders in Myanmar that can lead to a sustainable and peaceful political solution. 

He affirmed that the solution to the situation in Myanmar must be determined by the Myanmar people./.