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Date : 10 March 2015
Time : 1.00pm – 2.00pm
Venue : The Westin, Kuala Lumpur

Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
Good afternoon and Selamat Tengahari,



MPC Board of Directors,
Representatives from the
Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the Government and people of Malaysia, I welcome all of you to the ASEAN-OECD Good Regulatory Practice (GRP) Conference 2015. To the delegates and guests from overseas, I wish you a warm “Selamat Datang” to friendly Malaysia. I hope that you will make time after the Conference to enjoy more of Malaysian hospitality. We are celebrating the “Year of Festivals” this year, so please do check your schedules and join us for the many celebrations.

As YBhg Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa has pointed out, 2015 is significant not just for Malaysia, but also all of ASEAN. For Malaysia, it is important as we are Chair of ASEAN. For the region, it is because this year marks the realisation of the ASEAN Community, in general, and the ASEAN Economic Community, specifically. ASEAN is determined to complete the implementation of the programmes and measures drawn up under the AEC initiative by the December 31, 2015, deadline.

About 10 days ago, I hosted my ASEAN counterparts at our retreat in Kota Baru, Kelantan. The annual ASEAN Economic Ministers retreat was of particular significance this year because of the looming deadline to implement the AEC. The discussions included a quick stock taking of ASEAN`s economic growth. Let me share with you some of the specifics:

In 2000, ASEAN`s combined GDP was USD 606 billion. In 2013, it was USD 2.4 trillion, which is larger than India`s economy.
In 2000 our combined GDP per capita was USD 1,172. In 2013 it was USD 3,832.
In 2000, our global trade was valued at around USD 760 million. In 2013 it amounted to USD 2.5 billion
In 2000, FDI inflows into the region totalled USD 23 billion. In 2013, it increased to USD 122 billion.
Clearly, ASEAN has done well by any standard of measurement. With the establishment of ASEAN as a single market and production base, as envisioned under the AEC, we expect this economic momentum to gather even greater pace. The deeper integration of the economies of ASEAN`s 10 Member States can also help serve as a buffer for the region from the global economic volatility.

It bears repeating that ASEAN is home to more than 625 million people. The demographics too work in our favour. Ours is a young and increasingly tech-savvy population, and our middle class is growing. If it were a single economy, ASEAN would be the 7th largest in the world, with a combined GDP expected to reach USD4 trillion by 2020. So there is every reason to be upbeat about ASEAN.

But, let me also be frank. The implementation of the AEC is not an overnight process. It will take time, hopefully not too long!, for the emergence of a totally integrated regional economy given the varied development stages, economic particularities and the various parochial concerns of the 10 Member States.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

In this context, one of the major challenges facing the AEC is in harmonising, standardising and rationalising local regulations into regional rules that transcend national boundaries and are accepted by all 10 Member States. It can be a difficult process, as the experience of the European Union can testify.

But greater regulatory convergence regionally is critical to ASEAN integration. The declarations on Good Regulatory Practices, or GRP, issued by ASEAN Heads of State in late 2014 made specific reference to promoting the principles of good governance, transparency and a fair and inclusive regulatory regime. This should be achieved through active engagement with the private sector, community-based organisations and stakeholders of ASEAN.

Integral to GRP is the implementation of Regulatory Impact Analysis, RIA. At the national level, this structured process of thinking through the consequences of rules and regulations is vital. At the regional level, the coordination and collaboration on GRP matters will assist in forging consensus on significant cross-cutting issues of regulatory coherence. It is about mainstreaming GRP in ASEAN. Hence, we appreciate these first crucial steps that are being taken, and the conversations that we have begun, towards making GRP a part of our rule-making process.

We are pleased to have the OECD as our knowledge partner at this critical juncture in our journey towards deeper regional economic integration. The OECD has been engaged in issues of regulatory reform in South East Asia for over a decade. I note that ASEAN and the OECD have also established the ASEAN-OECD Good Regulatory Practice Network, GRPN. This is to work with regional and OECD partners to improve the understanding and capacities for efficient and effective regulation. OECD peer reviews on GRP-regulatory reform have also been published for Viet Nam in 2011, Indonesia, 2012 and Malaysia, this year.

Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am sure this conference will enable a meeting of minds to strategically address the challenges that need to be overcome in ASEAN`s march towards regional economic integration. With the dedication and commitment of all ASEAN Member States, as well as collaboration and support of international organisations such as the OECD, the goal of creating an ASEAN Economic Community is within sight.

I was also made to understand that there is a report prepared by OECD on the assessment of implementation of GRP in Malaysia. On that note, I would like to take this opportunity to thank those involved in expediting GRP implementation in Malaysia and I wish you all the best in your deliberations this afternoon.

With Bismillahirahmanirahim, I am pleased to open the ASEAN-OECD Conference 2015.
Last updated on : 2015-03-11 15:19:17