KUALA LUMPUR (June 12): Malaysia needs to show firm commitment to produce substantive deliverables when Putrajaya becomes the host of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) next year, says Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
He said Malaysia needs to start charting a new phase for APEC and ensure a smooth year in 2020.
The official handing over will be in November this year when Chile completes the chairmanship.
Dr Mahathir conveyed this message when he received a courtesy call today from APEC executive director Tan Sri Rebecca Fatima Sta Maria and Malaysian programme director at the APEC Secretariat Nurulaina Nadzeri.
Rebecca said the Prime Minister was all excited and happy for the way that the country is moving forward.
Rebecca, who is based in Singapore, was here to brief the Prime Minister and also held briefings with several Ministries, namely the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), Foreign Affairs and Communications and Multimedia.
“I have ensured the Prime Minister that things will go smoothly next year. It is going to be an important year not only for Malaysia but also for APEC because we will see the completion of the Bogor Goals,” she told Bernama.
To recap, in 1994, after the APEC Leaders met in Indonesia, in the town of Bogor, they announced the adoption of the the long-term goal of free and open trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific.
The deadline set was no later than the year 2020.
She also said that the secretariat will support the Malaysian Government.
“All they have to do is say what kind of support they need from us and we will do our part”.
Rebecca said following the APEC Leaders’ meeting which is scheduled in mid-November this year, the secretariat will have to work with all the other members to come out with a new formulation for APEC.
“The official handing over will be this November when Chile completes the chairmanship, so Malaysia will take over.
“We have already started to prepare the groundwork. We have done three sessions (of meetings) with MITI and the Malaysian officials. We will be doing one more in July,” she explained.
“And I also told Dr Mahathir that this is the first time a democratically-elected leader is hosting the APEC meeting twice.
“It is a world record and economists are very excited about it, I told him he has a fan club!” she added.
Malaysia hosted its first APEC meeting in 1998. The meeting was then chaired by former MITI Minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz.