Asean business community should embrace the AEC

2 December, 2014
As appeared in The Daily Express

KUALA LUMPUR: The Asean business community should embrace the Asean Economic Community (AEC) and prepare adequately to maximise the potential it offers.

AirAsia Group Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Asean Business Club (ABC) Forum 2014, Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, said businesses have a responsibility to make the AEC happen and should not wait for a cue from their governments.

“But mindsets must change. Both businesses and governments have to transcend the national and embrace the regional,” he said in his opening remarks at the Launch of the “Lifting the Barriers Report 2014, here Monday.

Fernandes said Asean institutions had to identify their strengths and capitalise on them to further grow the Asean community.

Malaysia, for example, had pushed the tourism market and via low-cost carrier AirAsia, made travelling cheaper (for business and leisure) within the Asean region and beyond.

CIMB Group Chairman and Co-Chair of the ABC Malaysia, Datuk Seri Nazir Razak, said Malaysia needs to capitalise on the upcoming chairmanship of Asean in 2015, to tie up any further loose ends before the establishment of the AEC.

“There are many challenges faced by Asean’s home grown multi-nationals and small and medium enterprises, in anticipation of the impending formation of the AEC,” he added.

He also hoped that the government would quickly tackle the issues to help businesses.

An ABC delegation is on a visit to Malaysia. In conjunction with the visit and in partnership with the CIMB Asean Research Institute, the ABC launched the second set of Lifting-The-Barriers reports Monday.

Among the targeted sectors this year is legal and tax, financial services and capital markets, oil and gas and automotive and manufacturing.

The reports have identified barriers such as economics nationalism, human capital constraints, regulatory congestion and underdeveloped infrastructure, as some of the main obstacles facing integration. – Bernama