KUALA LUMPUR, 12 April 2009: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the postponement of the 14th Asean Summit and related summits in Thailand yesterday due to anti-government protests could impede the good work of a regional grouping like Asean.
Writing in his blog, www.1malaysia.com.my, Najib also said the move would “delay the benefits of closer integration for hundreds of millions living and working in Southeast Asia.”
Najib, who had flown to Pattaya on 10 April to attend the Asean meetings, had to cut short the visit yesterday when Thailand declared emergency in Pattaya after thousands of anti-government protesters stormed the venue of the meetings and forced their cancellation.
“It was unfortunate that my meetings were cancelled one after the other as leaders could not leave or enter the conference venue.
“Luckily, with the assistance of the Thai armed forces and police, we made it safely to the airport en route home,” said Najib, who returned to Malaysia at 7.30pm yesterday.
Najib said: “As we took off, I reflected with great concern how domestic political challenges like these can impede the good work of a regional grouping like Asean.”
The summits, carrying the theme “Acting Together to Cope with Global Challenges”, were to have held significance in Asean’s relations with its dialogue partners besides giving the opportunity for all the countries to discuss current issues of regional and international concern.
In his blog, Najib also invited Malaysians to send comments to his blog on their thoughts on the recently announced cabinet line-up and the new performance-based approach which he intended to enforce.
“I am also interested to know what your hopes are for the new administration to ensure that the welfare and development of all communities are looked after,” he said.
Najib said he had considered a number of factors to ensure that the cabinet was truly a People’s Cabinet which would be able to serve the people fairly and effectively, and would strive to propel the country forward, leaving no one behind.
He also said that he encouraged everyone to be respectful in their opinions of others in their remarks and hoped that the dialogue could be continued in a constructive manner, in the true spirit of 1Malaysia. — Bernama