Interview: RCEP to make Southeast Asia flourish, bloom again: Malaysian veteran politician

(Xinhua) 08:51, December 30, 2021

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec. 29 (Xinhua) -- The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which will come into effect on Jan. 1, 2022, will drive economic recovery in Southeast Asia (SEA) and make it flourish and bloom again, a Malaysian veteran politician said.

"This is an Asian change century...Therefore I think we should get together," said Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, a Gua Musang Member of Parliament under the ruling BN affiliated UMNO party, said in a recent interview with Xinhua.

Signed in November last year, RCEP is a mega trade deal between 10 ASEAN member states, namely Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, and its five free trade agreement partners, namely China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has put the world into a recession trend, Tengku Razaleigh, who is also known as Ku Li, expressed his belief that RCEP will play an important role in promoting the regional development.

"I think it is good for the future... It boosts our confidence. It brings back the feeling that we can overcome these difficulties, and probably pull others into the region," said the Malaysia's longest-serving member of parliament.

Tengku Razaleigh predicted that after the RCEP takes effect, Southeast Asia will probably grow faster in the future.

"Even SEA is split into small countries by the ocean, I think if we can get together, we can become a group of economic forces and have a very strong relationship in economic terms with China. I think that will stabilize the whole region. And all goes well for the future."

He hopes SEA countries could be a good trading block and a partner of China to spur mutually beneficial growth.

(Web editor: Xia Peiyao, Liang Jun)


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