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May 11, 2008

Malaysian FM: ASEAN charter should be a success

Malaysia wants to ensure that the Asean Charter, which gives the group a legal identity and turn it into a more effective and cohesive organisation, becomes a success, Foreign Minister Dr Rais Yatim was quoted by state news agency Bernama as saying Friday.

"We would like to prioritise matters pertaining to relations with Asean countries firstly, for example with Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei and the other seven nations of Asean to ensure the success of the Charter. It is based on three pillars, namely the political and security well-being of the grouping, the economic well-being and also the social and cultural well- being," he told Bernama recently.

Asean leaders signed the historic accord last November after four decades of the group's existence. In a nutshell, the Asean Charter is all about giving the grouping a stronger and collective voice on the international stage and ensuring plans endorsed by its leaders are effectively implemented according to timelines.

Some critics condemned the document as diluted to irrelevance, with one Asean member, the Philippines reportedly warning that its legislature was unlikely to ratify it. Asean governments have one year to ratify the charter.

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