As a curtain raiser to the Asean Inter- Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) this year, the official opening of the 42nd meeting was held yesterday via video conferencing.
It was attended by representatives of Asean parliamentarians, observers and guests of AIPA.
Brunei Darussalam chaired the 42nd AIPA General Assembly hosted by the Legislative Council (LegCo) and LegCo Speaker Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Lela Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdul Rahman bin Dato Setia Haji Mohamed Taib as the 42nd President of AIPA.
The opening ceremony was graced by His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar 'Ali Saifuddien Sa'adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, who also delivered a titah.
As a host of 42nd AIPA, Brunei has chosen the theme 'Forging Parliamentary Cooperation in Digital Inclusion Towards ASEAN Community 2025', whereby AIPA parliamentarians will continue to contribute to and commit to building ASEAN as a digital and economic bloc.
Through AIPA, the group strives to raise awareness in coordinating rules and standardising fairness and appropriate legislation throughout ASEAN to protect the grassroots and be fair at all levels. ASEAN unanimously wants to see present and future generations continue to enjoy peace, security and continued stability, growth sustainable economy. Therefore, it is important for parliamentarians to continue to make AIPA a leading organisation and platform in improving multilateral cooperation.
It is in line with the agenda at this year's general assembly, to discuss issues of mutual concern and be confident that the discussion at the assembly will yield new methods in which AIPA and ASEAN can work together in organising measures and responding effectively to regional and global challenges.
Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Lela Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdul Rahman in his welcoming speech said in an effort to respond and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic in the ASEAN region collectively, it is time for ASEAN countries to ensure inclusive digital transformation to build endurance and prepare present and future generations for the period after the pandemic.
Rapid digital transformation and adoption caused by the pandemic underscore the importance of digitalisation, especially when navigating through challenging times.
Brunei has paid close attention to relevant issues, such as women empowerment, climate change, cybersecurity and economic integration as part of the agendas of AIPA general assembly this year.
At the First Plenary Session chaired by the President of 42nd AIPA, speakers of AIPA member states have been invited to deliver speeches. Brunei was represented by LegCo member Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Pendikar Alam Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Hasrin bin Dato Paduka Awang Haji Sabtu.
Observers from several countries, as well as Secretary General of AIPA, Secretary General of ASEAN and special guests from the host country, were also in attendance.
The AIPA General Assembly has entered its 44th year since inception. AIPA was originally formed in 1977 as the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Organization (AIPO) by parliamentary leaders from Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand during the 3rd ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Conference in Manila, the Philippines.
In subsequent years, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia became full members of the organisation. During the 27th AIPO General Assembly held in Cebu City in 2006, the organisation was turned into ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) to make it a more effective institution.
Brunei became a full member of AIPA in 2009 and hosted the 34th AIPA General Assembly in 2013.
AIPA also plays an important role in introducing the regional community to policies and in realising the vision of the ASEAN Community 2025. The 42nd online AIPA General Assembly will run for three days to discuss political, social and economic, women in parliament and AIPA.
A total of 28 agendas will be seeking approval in the Joint Communique, who will convene in the Second Plenary Session on the last day of the general assembly.
(News source: Borneo Bulletin, Photo source: LegCo)