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By Tengku Faezah Tengku Yusof
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 16 (Bernama) — Kuala Lumpur is all decked out with banners to welcome delegates of the upcoming 27TH ASEAN Summit and Related Summits who will thrash out ASEAN and global issues as they enjoy the hospitality of the Malaysian capital city.
The ASEAN “fever” has also caught up with college students Zhaqri Faruq Zulkiflee, 22, and his brother Zabir Barie, 21.
The banners and billboards remind them that the summits, hosted by Malaysia as the ASEAN chair, is just two days away.
They have read about the much-talked about ASEAN Community to be formed during the 27th summit, and are looking forward to what it could bring to the over 600 million population of the 10 member countries.
Zhaqri, a student of Management at Inti College, Subang Jaya, is worried about graduates not being able to find jobs. He hopes that the ASEAN Community will result in better job opportunities.
“It will be great if we can find work in the ASEAN countries instead of having to go to another region (to find jobs),” he said.
Zabir wants more integration among the ASEAN youths to help them bond and build a sense of belonging. This, he said, could be done through holding sports activities among the youths, who makee up some 50 per cent of the ASEAN population.
Universiti Teknologi Mara lecturer in the Communication and Media Studies Faculty, Noor Nirwandy Mat Noordin, 39, felt that all ASEAN countries should develop strategic outlets for youths to provide their opinions on regional and global issues, particularly issues of ASEAN interest.
He said this strategic communication and participation by the “Gen Y” at the ASEAN level would eventually expose the youngsters as potential ambassadors of similar global vision internationally.
Jeremy Chong, 26, a Masters student of Law at Universiti Malaya, felt that ASEAN should create a tribunal to solve mutual problems pertaining to the environment and piracy.
To him, every region in the world, including ASEAN depended on integration to solve mutual problems with a common voice at the international stage, as the political and social stature of the nations depended on it.
As for Ismail Amsyar Mohd Said, he wants to see an ASEAN Community where the benefits and wealth of the region will be equally distributed.
“I want an AC where there will be a lot more employment opportunities,” said the 29-year-old, who is taking up Masters in World Journalism at the University of Sheffield, United Kingdom.
Ismail Amsyar also said that ASEAN members must also take a step back and revisit ASEAN’s agreement in dealing with the annual transboundary haze pollution, which spreads from Indonesia to Malaysia and Singapore, saying that this unsolved dilemma “seems to make ASEAN look immature in rectifying the issue”.
The ASEAN Leaders have declared that the 2009-2015 Road Map consisting of the three Community blueprints – Economic (AEC), Politico-Security, Socio-Cultural – shall form the basis of the overall ASEAN Community.
ASEAN groups Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
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