By Danial Dzulkifly
SHAH ALAM, Nov 10 — Selangor aims to become the most developed state in the Asean region, with unity as a guiding principle, said Menteri Besar Dato’ Seri Amirudin Shari.
During the tabling of the 2024 Selangor Budget today, he said Selangor, with its robust economic infrastructure and cohesive societal fabric, is uniquely positioned to capitalise on the shifting economic focus towards the Asean bloc.
“Unity should also be based on such aspirations, not sentiments and hatred. Such sincere unity that is not filled with intrigue and hidden agendas can be successful.
“This embodies the kind of unity that Selangor’s people yearn for — a collective effort to drive progress and success in our state,” Amirudin said.
Reflecting on the global political landscape, he said the prevailing uncertainties and challenges, including the forthcoming United States (US) elections and the instability they bring, the rise of Europe’s far-right movements, China’s economic woes, and the ongoing tensions between Russia and Ukraine, which he likened to a new Cold War.
The Menteri Besar also commented on Southeast Asia’s strategic significance, which is expected to grow amidst global uncertainties.
“With all this uncertainty, Southeast Asia, strategically positioned between the US and China and home to 680 million people, is rapidly growing.
“The region, besides its strategic position, can come forward with administrations focused on the primary strength of unity and togetherness,” he said.
Drawing parallels with post-World War II Europe, Amirudin advocated for a similar collective approach in Asean, focusing on unity and pragmatic leadership.
In his concluding remarks, he expressed confidence in Southeast Asia’s future, envisioning the region as a powerhouse in the coming decade.
“In Europe, they proclaimed ‘Never Again’ after World War II and the Cold War with the fall of the Berlin Wall (in 1989).
“In Asean, our stance should be ‘Never in Asean’ so that unity, pragmatic, realistic, and visionary leadership approaches, along with the importance of negotiation in politics, not politics as a zero-sum game, prevails.
“This is why this would be the Southeast Asian Century,” Amirudin said.
While acknowledging the competition within the Asean region, citing the economic growth in Vietnam and Indonesia’s Nusantara offer to potentially lead the economy in the region as examples, he said Selangor is in the most strategic position to become not only the most advanced state in the Nusantara region but also in Southeast Asia.
“This budget is an effort which will steer us on the right track,” he added.