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January - February 2010

The High Cost of Market Economy Label It has fascinated Vietnam watchers, particularly those from the West, to discover the metamorphosis of the country transforming itself from a closed political system into an aspiring market economy.

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Jointly organized by Asian Strategy & Leadership Institute and East Asian Institute
7 December 2009 Sheraton Towers, Singapore
Dato’ Dr. Michael Yeoh

(Chief Executive Officer/Director, Asian Strategy& Leadership Institute, ASLI, Malaysia)

Welcoming Speeches by Co-chairmen
Prof. Wang Gungwu

(Chairman, East Asian Institute, EAI, National University of Singapore)
I would thank and welcome all the participants on behalf of the East Asian Institute and the conference organizers. My colleagues and I in EAI have been studying China for 12 years from 1997. We deep felt that cooperation and understanding between Asian countries is critically needed in this era of globalization and rise of Asia.  Last year the onset of global financial crisis and subsequent election of Obama as US. President has shocked the world. The Global Financial Crisis, like a heart attack in the capitalist system, suddenly enlightens us on the myriad vulnerabilities and systemic failures. Yet the election of Obama also gives us some hope. The GFC and its subsequent events therefore arises both optimism and pessimism. For Asia, the financial crisis demands vigorous response from all Asian countries, from China, Japan to the small countries of ASEAN in a joint cooperative manner. The Questions arise: How will Asia decide on our role in the GFC? What choice and decisions should Asia make in the crisis in the USA? I hope this conference, which brings together insights from all over Asia and across different spheres, will provide insights to these questions.

The joint organisers of the forum from left to right Dato’ Dr. Michael Yeoh, CEO of ASLI and Prof. Wang Gungwu, Chairman of East Asian Institute, National University of Singapore; with Mr. Ronnie Chan, Chairman of Hang Lung Properties Ltd Hong Kong & Asia Society Hong Kong Center.

The President of ASLI Mr. Mirzan Mahathir (centre) flanked by Dato’ Dr. Michael Yeoh, CEO of ASLI and H.E. Wei Jianguo, Secretary-General, China Center for International Economic Exchanges and former Vice Minister of Commerce, China.
S.Roy, Founder & CEO ASEANAFFAIRS addressing the audience in Singapore at the summit.
Mr. Ronnie Chan (with mike) chairing a session with his panel speakers (on his right): Prof. Kishore Mahbubani, Dean, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore; Mr. Thai Quang Trung, Regional Coordinator, Hanns Seidel Foundation; Mr. Teoh Kok Lin, Founder & Chief Investment Officer, Singular Asset Management Malaysia. On Mr. Ronnie Chan's left are Ambassador Wu Jianmin, Member, Foreign Policy Advisory Committee & former President, China Foreign Affairs University Beijing and Prof. Wang Gungwu, Chairman, East Asian Institute.


Dato’ Dr. Michael Yeoh
(Chief Executive Officer/Director, Asian Strategy& Leadership Institute, ASLI, Malaysia)

Today the world is heralding a recovery after the moral crisis of capitalism. One consequence of the crisis is that Asia now becomes more relevant and important for the world economy. As Prof. Wang mentions in his speech, there are many questions to be addressed in the after-crisis era, what role should Asia play? How will Asia fare in the future? Will China lead Asia in the next economic boom? What role should ASEAN play in the future development of the world economy? Meanwhile, economic growth and development has created two distinctive world of Asia. There is the Global Asia, embodied by Shanghai, with all its glamour and splendors and skyscrapers; there is also the Asian hinterland and urban slums, which is still struggling with desperate poverty and short of everything. A rapidly developing Asia should give a high priority to the problem of rising inequality. For all key issues to be addressed in today’s Asia, I would propose 3 Cs, 4 Is and 4Es. The 3 Cs are Competition, Corruption and Cost of Business; the 4Is are Inclusiveness, Infrastructure, Investment and Innovation. The 4Es are Education & Human Capital, Environment, Energy and Employment.

This conference itself shows the innovativeness of the Asians. We have managed to bring people from Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Thailand, the Philippines and mainland China. Let’s talk about what is right and wrong about Asia.  Asia faces a lot of problems, among which there is the difficulty of integration. For Asia to succeed, we need to be brutally realistic. This is the law of success. The Americas succeed exactly because they are the most realistic and rational people. I have much questions and doubts with such thesis as the Asia Century and decoupling. We have perhaps underestimated the Americans by posing such grand questions. The America is still the most powerful nation, dominating the world in technology, industry, military, education, culture and ideology.  We should make these clear before going into the thesis of Asia’s rise. Today although the agenda is already there, the main thesis is still to be shaped by discussions in the following hours. We look forward to a day of fruitful exchange. At least we must confirm that “As Asians we should not fool ourselves.”

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