South China Sea ruling and repercussion : How geopolitics impact ASEAN integration


ASEAN Roundtable Series discussion on South China Sea ruling and repercussion : How geopolitics impact ASEAN integration

CIMB ASEAN Research Institute (CARI) in collaboration with ASEAN Business Club (ABC) held a roundtable discussion on 30th August 2016, with a theme on South China Sea ruling and repercussion : How geopolitics impact ASEAN integration. Speakers of the roundtable include, Tan Sri Dr. Munir Majid, Chairman of CARI and President of the ASEAN Business Club, Professor Anthony Milner, Visiting Professor of Centre for ASEAN Regionalism and University of Malaya, Professor Dato’ Dr. Zakaria Ahmad, Deputy Vice Chancellor of HELP University, and Bunn Sri Na Nagara, Senior Fellow of the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia.

Discussion summary to follow.

►Click Here To Read More Details

ASEAN Economic Community Dialogue 2025



KUALA LUMPUR, 24th April – ASEAN Business Club and regional companies expressed support for the ASEAN Economic Community 2025 Vision to realise a highly integrated community with a people-centred agenda. They welcomed the strengthening of private sector’s role in the next ten years of ASEAN Economic Community building.

Over 150 multinationals, regional businesses and media gathered today in Kuala Lumpur in a special dialogue focused on ASEAN Economic Community 2025, jointly organised by the ASEAN Business Club, CIMB ASEAN Research Institute and Ministry of International Trade and Industry of Malaysia.

In the coming decade, ASEAN has committed to institutionalise within each body a consultative process with lead private sector associations and business councils to support the implementation of various sectors. ASEAN has identified four prioritised sectors, namely retail (including e-commerce), agri-food, healthcare and logistics for the removal of non-tariff barriers.

“Private sector engagement with leaders and ministers in the past has seen insufficient progress in the removal non-tariff barriers. The next phase must focus on tangible outcome, with the private sector working through Asean bodies from the bottom up as well. We call for the inclusion of private sector experts in the Asean policy making process,” said Tan Sri Dr. Munir Majid, President of the ASEAN Business Club.

► Click Here To Read More Details

ASEAN Business Club Forum 2015 – Road to ASEAN Integration



Leading businesses from the private sector have become a forceful voice of change, committed to accelerating ASEAN integration efforts. The ASEAN Business Club Forum, a joint collaboration between the CIMB ASEAN Research Institute (CARI) and the ASEAN Business Club (ABC), brings together industry leaders and stakeholders to discuss the future of ASEAN integration.

This forum serves to identify bottlenecks and barriers hindering free trade within ASEAN member nations and to help achieve the goal of the ASEAN Economic Community by 2015. The forum is steered by the leadership of some of the most influential corporate figures across various sectors comprising leading ASEAN and global organisations such as AirAsia, CIMB Group, Ayala Corporation, Bangkok Bank, Northstar Group, Lippo Group, and many more.

The ABC Forum is the second phase of the Lifting-The-Barriers Initiative (LTBI). Preliminary research from targeted sectors coupled with round-table discussions between the public and private sectors at the forum leads to the production of the Lifting-The-Barriers Reports, a set of white papers for policy makers to effect real change in the region.

► Click Here To Read More Details

ASEAN Business Club Forum 2014



Key regional business leaders and stakeholders from across ASEAN converged in Singapore for the two-day ASEAN Business Club Forum to identify bottlenecks and barriers hindering free trade ahead of implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015. The forum was held from 8th-9th September at the Four Seasons Hotel Singapore.

ABC Forum 2014 Chairman, Tan Sri Tony Fernandes who is also an ASEAN Business Club (ABC) Council Member and the Group CEO of AirAsia stressed the importance of co-operation between government and private sector to facilitate businesses so that their growth will not be impeded.

► Click Here To Read More Details

Network ASEAN Forum 2013



CIMB ASEAN Research Institute (CARI) is proud to present the inaugural Network ASEAN Forum (NAF 2013), which has been scheduled to be held on 22nd to 23rd August, 2013, with a theme on “A Strategy For ASEAN” in Singapore.

Over the last 30 years, ASEAN has evolved into a major player in the international arena. ASEAN has signed on to the goal of an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2015, however most businesses have not given it enough weight to factor it into their plans. Fewer than 20% of them have any plans for AEC 2015.

The AEC should be factored into all the economic planning of the private and public sector. This is CARI’s founding conviction. As a hybrid institution, funded by the private sector, but dedicated to help connect the private sector to the public ecosystem of ASEAN, we are positioned to mediate between the official ASEAN process driven by government leaders, policymakers and regulators, and the perspectives and resources of the business community.

Therefore, NAF 2013 will serve as a premier annual event and the central stage of discussion for ASEAN convening ASEAN community and all influential stakeholders. Most uniquely, NAF 2013 will convene around “Lifting-the-Barriers Roundtables”, six sector-based roundtables, with a special focus on identifying bottlenecks and barriers hindering free trade of the six championed sectors in the context of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).


Program Overview
















CIMB Bangkok Conference 2012

ASEAN well placed to gain from return of Silk Road

24 July 2012 | Bangkok, Thailand

Asean well placed to gain from return of Silk Road


Asean stands to benefit tremendously from the return of he restoration of the 500-year-old trading route is already underway with Asean resuming its ancient role of linking China, India and the rest of Asia to the rest of the world, he told a seminar on “Rethinking Asean in the New Global Economy” held by CIMB Bank. Myanmar provides the geographical link between the Indian Ocean and Andaman Sea, while Thailand stands at the crossroads of “continental Asia”.

However, Asean needs a “new growth model” to deal effectively with the “new global order” that its “engaging business” sector can play a key role in. Bunluasak Pussarungsri, executive vice president of CIMB Thai Bank, said Asean could take some global production share away from China and become a new global production hub for some industries including automobiles, provided it has the right strategy.

Every Asean country except Singapore and Malaysia has lower production costs than China. China has dominated the world because it has a large supply-chain network. In the case of textiles, we have already succeeded [in fighting back China] through the forming of clusters that leverage on the different [expertise of textile producers].

To seize some global production share back from China, Asean countries need to rely on their governments to take strategic initiatives in bringing down significantly their trade barriers and opening up their services sector.

Based on Asean’s “sloppy” track record in implementing the Asean Free Trade Agreement and other regional initiatives, the arrival of the Asean Economic Community in 2015 is not expected to lead to a major change in trade and business during the early years, Bunluasak said. However, one should not forget about the “unofficial Asean”. “I think we would be underestimating if we look only at what governments are doing. We should not forget that apart from the official process, there is real integration going on … people to people, at neighbouring districts, towns.” Indonesia is bucking the trend with its recent move to restrict foreign shareholding in some industries, he added.

Pang said: “The restriction is not applied only on Asean but also the rest of the world. Indonesia is shooting themselves in the foot.”

Kasem Prunratanamala, head of CIMB Securities (Thailand)’s research team, said Thai banks are moving slower than Thai corporations in investing in other Asean countries.

“Although Thai banks are very strong domestically and foreigners would find it difficult to come in [and compete against them], in the next five to 10 years, this venue [Thai market] might become too small,” so they should move quickly, he said.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

CIMB-CARI Myanmar Breakfast Meeting

CIMB-CARI Myanmar Breakfast Meeting

10 July 2012 | Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

CIMB CARI Breakfast Meeting on Myanmar


CARI and CIMB associates had the privilege of meeting several Myanmar delegates at a small group session over breakfast to learn more about the country’s business and economic developments.

Among the speakers present:

Ye Min Aung
Executive committee member, Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry

Ko Ko Lay
Deputy Director, Directorate of Trade of the Ministry of Commerce

Dr U Tin Htut
Rector, Yezin Agricultural University

Dr Larry Wong
Program Director, Institute of Strategic and International Studies, Malaysia

Financial services

The financial sector is one of Myanmar’s weakest area and the government is in talks with a number of foreign banks, including those from Malaysia and Singapore to iron out its banking and financial policies, said Ye Min Aung, executive committee member of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, at a breakfast roundtable organised by CIMB and CARI on 10 July 2012.

Myanmar’s financial liberalisation will start with reforming the central bank, said Ye Min. That, he added, would be followed by offering foreign-owned banks limited operations. The government, he explained, was currently encouraging microfinancing in rural sectors.

For trade in services overall, according to Ko Ko Lay, Deputy Director at the Directorate of Trade of the Ministry of Commerce, the government would focus on privatising state-owned enterprises starting from telecommunications and banking. As for the skyrocketing property prices in Yangon, Ye Min explained that with the absence of a capital market, cash-rich Myanmar residents such as gem traders invested heavily in property.

Myanmar’s geo-strategic advantage – water security

Myanmar’s Irrawaddy and Sittaung rivers originate from within the country thus ensuring a steady supply of water for food and energy supply, noted Larry Wong, Program Director at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies.

The Irrawady, which originates from Kachin state, is the country’s largest river and most important commercial waterway. A significant amount of goods are transported by the river. Rice produced in the Irrawaddy Delta is irrigated by the river.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

CARI Conversation III

CARI Conversation III – ASEAN’s role in the new global economy

14 June 2012 – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Video streaming by Ustream

This year’s CARI Conversations discussed ASEAN’s role in the new global economy. For the first time, the session was streamed and tweeted live.

The distinguished panel emphasised the importance of further integration for ASEAN in the new global environment.

ASEAN can punch its weight only if it is integrated and the progress of integration is slow because of insufficient institutional push, said former deputy governor of Bank Negara Malaysia, Ooi Sang Kuang.

The panel agreed that ASEAN needs a framework and mechanism that is tailor-made for its developing members.

Pushpanathan Sundram, Senior Fellow at the Singaporean Institute of International Affairs said ASEAN has been successful in three areas, trade liberalisation, trade facilitation, and cultivating an attractive investment climate and should continue those efforts.

Dr. Muang Muang Lay, vice president of Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry indicated that Myanmar has been hibernating, but it is on the verge of take-off and there would be no reversal.

Manu Bhaskaran, CEO of Centennial Asia Advisors recommended that ASEAN should identify a sector that has benefitted from integration and push it forward.

As regional economic integration moves ahead with the realisation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2015, new opportunities and challenges will open for ASEAN and global economic players. How can businesses capitalise on the emergence of an open market for goods, services and investment? How can ASEAN integration help make the region a single production base and an attractive investment destination?

How will the AEC complement or compete against major regional players such as China and India? Will the AEC buffer Southeast Asia from external economic shocks or weaken regional economies? CARI Conversations analysing the prospects of the AEC in the global market as power shifts and capital flows impact our interconnected economies.

The Panelist

Dato’ Ooi Sang Kuang Dato’ Ooi Sang Kuang

Chairman, Malaysian Electronic Clearing Corporation Chairman, Cagamas Berhad Former Deputy Governor, Bank Negara Malaysia

Pushpanathan Sundram Pushpanathan Sundram

Senior Fellow, Singapore Institute of International Affairs Former Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Economic Community

Manu Bhaskaran Manu Bhaskaran

Director & Chief Executive Officer, Centennial Asia Advisors

DR Maung Maung Lay DR Maung Maung Lay

Vice President, Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

A Snapshot Of Democracy In ASEAN

A Snapshot Of Democracy In ASEAN

25 May 2012 | Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

In this talk hosted by CARI and IDFR at the Treaty Room of the former headquarters of Wisma Putra


In this talk hosted by CARI and IDFR at the Treaty Room of the former headquarters of Wisma Putra (the Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Tunku ‘Abidin (CARI Fellow) outlined four key factors in the democratisation of ASEAN: institutional legitimacy (both within individual countries and ASEAN as a whole), economic integration, the impact of popular protest, and geopolitics, in addition to specific issues seen in individual countries.

MTCC Networking Dinner

Malaysia-Thai Chamber of Commerce Networking Dinner

23 May 2012 – Bangkok, Thailand

MTCC Networking Dinner


CARI was invited to a dinner hosted by CIMB Thai for the Malaysian-Thai Chamber of Commerce. During the dinner, John Pang, CARI CEO, delivered the keynote address entitled “The Impact of AEC on SMEs”.

The speech was followed by a Q&A session comprising John Pang, Yeap Swee Chuan, Council Member of the ASEAN Business Club and President of the Malaysia-Thai Chamber of Commerce, Subhak Siwaraksa, President and CEO of CIMB Thai and Chakramon Phasukavanich Chairman of CIMB Thai. The panel answered questions on capital market liberalisation and the progress of regional integration. Subhak shared his experiences of ASEAN businesses and emphasised the importance of finding a niche market while while Yeap urged all the participants to build partnerships and trust with each other when doing business.