Food security and climate change become ASEAN’s top priorities as Malaysia assumes chairmanship

KUALA LUMPUR, April 19 (Bernama) — As Malaysia prepares to assume the ASEAN chairmanship, strengthening regional food security and tackling the pressing challenges of climate change will be the country’s leading role in the region. This is emerging as an important issue in defining roles.

Dewan Rakyat Chairman Tan Sri Johari Abdul appeared on Bernama TV talk show. A country called ASEAN+ On Friday, he highlighted how the conflict between Russia and Ukraine highlights the global impact of food insecurity.

Mr Johari urged ASEAN member states to work together to tackle the issue, saying, “We (ASEAN member states) need to work together to ensure that this part of the world does not go hungry. We should think carefully about whether to do so.”

He said ASEAN should move away from a siloed approach and combine its strengths such as vast agricultural land, financial strength, human resources and technology to build a food-secure region.

Mr. Johari stressed the importance of sharing ideas, experience and expertise among Member States to strengthen research and development efforts aimed at strengthening food security.

The total population of ASEAN is 680 million people, and he pointed out the potential of this region as a de facto internal market.

“ASEAN doesn’t need marketing. Member countries can reduce costs and increase efficiency by working together,” he said.

As the next Chair of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA), Mr Johari reiterated Malaysia’s commitment to advance other important agenda items, including tackling climate change, during his term as the next ASEAN Chair.

He highlighted Malaysia’s interest in promoting renewable energy sources such as hydrogen, hydropower and solar power.

“We will discuss with member countries how we can work together and leverage resources such as hydropower, solar and hydrogen,” he said.

Johari called on ASEAN countries to invest in young generations and education to develop future leaders who can maintain ASEAN’s status as a Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality (ZOPFAN).

— Bernama

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