ASEAN: What Do We Need To Understand?

After the New Year parties in which the whole Earth is in festive mood, little did it know that it will enter the era of ASEAN. But, what should be accomplished in the region’s resolution list?

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On December 31st, ASEAN published two-page advertorial on Kompas. Under the column of its frequently asked questions, there is one about how ASEAN is generally described. Well, ASEAN eloquently explained that: “they will make the society for each member to be more bonded, closer, and to embody a more prosper society with sustainability.”

However, people need a more practical approach to see how the description above applied. Let’s start from the trade sector. The embodiment itself from ASEAN’s perspective had been established through the ASEAN Economic Community. Incited from Manila Bulletin, 99.65 percent of goods have been imposed for zero tariff.

It is apparent the goods exchange have improved, faster per say. Still, the fact that quality of each goods must be superior, there will be consumers to buy. There are a lot of things to juggle; not only should the quality of a product, but a country also consider twice about the labors’ salary in order to balance the competitive price.

While that thought is sinking through, let’s move on to the labor issue. Rajaratnam School of International Studies Nanyang Technological Universities, on March 2015 had released a commentary related to labor issue. They commented that ASEAN is still “making a process, not progress”.

The writer for this commentary Kaewkamol Pitakdumrongkit said there was reluctance by the government to let migrant workers inflow. Kaewkamol claimed the problem are on both sides; the country-sending worker and country-receiving worker.

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While the country-sending worrying the condition of their workforce abroad, at the same time country-receiving worker worrying about defending domestic worker in order to keep them having chance to work in their homeland. Just like Kaemkamol have said that these two main problems had to be countered together. All the while, each country could still defend their own national interest.

But also, ASEAN should do something with their unbalance global competitiveness among its members. According to Global Competitiveness Report, Singapore ranks number two just behind Switzerland at the top of the chart.  Thailand is 32, Laos is 88, and then Myanmar is on 131.

The report shows a wide gap of competitiveness among the community members. As World Economic Forum measured competitiveness level based on varieties of aspects such as education, infrastructure, corruption level, and many more.

Human rights issue also will become another obstacle to conquer. Like the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar that had given impact to countries in the region.

So, there’s still a lot of homework to do for any stake-holder in the region. The duty itself rest upon the idea of improving all aspects, though the journey is still a long way.


One thought on “ASEAN: What Do We Need To Understand?

  • January 17, 2017 at 5:03 am

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