KUALA LUMPUR, April 15 – Regional cooperation, in particular in Asean, and the networks of global diplomatic relationships were important to collectively address emerging security challenges, said Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin today. He said such effective and close cooperation would continue to generate the ability to identify and address threats of any sort which might be detrimental to regional security and stability. “As such, I am comforted that the world is not only recognising the importance of Asean as a platform for maintaining peace and stability among its members, but as a forum for engagements with regional powers such as China, India, Japan and Korea. “It is a known fact that since the formation of Asean in 1967, there has not been any open conflict among its member countries,” he said in his closing address at the Putrajaya Forum 2014, here, Tuesday.

Muhyiddin said this was because Asean’s way of resolving problems and crises through consensus and mutual respect had indeed gone a long way towards avoiding unnecessary conflicts and tension. Themed ‘Strengthening Security and Regional Stability’, the forum was organised in conjunction with the four-day 14th Defence Services Asia (DSA) Exhibition and Conference which ends on April 17. Muhyiddin said: “When Malaysia chairs Asean next year, there will indeed be more challenges that the 10-country grouping needs to face collectively among the Asean family and beyond.” He said the Asean Regional Forum, now consisting of 27 member countries, continued to complement the various bilateral and multilateral arrangements and was indeed an avenue to address security threats in the region, that could be continuously reviewed and upgraded.

“Malaysia is also vying for a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council next year with the candidature theme of ‘Peace and Security through Moderation’. “This augurs well for Asean countries, as I am sure we will be able to speak and give our views by taking into account the importance of diplomacy and moderation in all aspects of international relations,” he said. Muhyiddin said maintaining security and stability in this region would largely rely on continued consultations and solidarity in addressing a security threat, common virtues which the Asean family had always espoused. On the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH370, which has affected the nation profoundly, the deputy prime minister said this incident not only brought the whole nation and region together but also instilled camaraderie among the Asean members and beyond.

“Twenty-six nations assisted in the search and recovery operations and coordinating their efforts which we have had to undertake involved many new experiences. “I believe the trust, respect, transparency displayed and above all, the close cooperation forged among us will put us in good stead in the future when faced with a security challenge,” he said. The incident, Muhyiddin said, had garnered close cooperation that would surely contribute to the overall stability of the region in future, particularly so if Malaysia’s bid to be a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council was endorsed. On the DSA 2014 forum, he said it had provided the right platform for industry experts and players to share a common desire in strengthening cooperation and initiatives that promoted greater security and stability in the region.

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