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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        13 January 2011

Asean must strengthen ICT development

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Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said on Thursday that it is imperative for Asean to be in the mainstream of global information communication technology (ICT) development.

ICT, he said, was "probably the most fundamental tool" member countries had at their disposal to further strengthen the grouping by facilitating communications for the exchange of ideas and to strengthen bilateral as well as people to people relations.

For many Asean countries, however, inter-Asean connectivity remained a challenge as rolling out ubiquitous modern broadband networks required huge investments, he added.

He said that much of the connectivity still routes to the United States and Europe before reaching a fellow Asean country.

"To remedy this, I propose that the Telmin (Asean Telecommunications and Information Technology Ministers Meeting) consider focusing resources on improving pan-Asean connectivity in order to lower the cost of bandwidth in Asean," he said in his speech when opening the 10th Telmin at Royale Chulan Hotel here.

Najib said if Asean countries were able to accomplish this, inter-Asean connectivity would be greatly improved, as do opportunities for enhancing Asean-originated content and value creation for Asean products and services.

"Asean cannot afford not to be on the cusp of ICT development if it is to remain as the most attractive region for business and commerce for the world. If this is the Asian Century, then Asean must serve as a primary artery for trade and investment in the continent," he said.

The Prime Minister also reminded Asean countries that in their earnest drive to develop their respective economies, they should not forget the new challenges brought about by the advancement in ICT.

In this context, he said cyber-criminals were getting more sophisticated and posed great risks to countries or governments.

"We need to step up our capacity-building to ensure that governments and law enforcement officials remain ahead of existing cyber threats, and on the pulse of emerging ones," he said.


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ASEAN  ANALYSIS

This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs  
04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More

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