Vital for BIMP-EAGA to forge good ties

May 19, 2016, Thursday
Sharon Kong

KUCHING: It is vital for members of the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines-East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) fraternity to forge a more productive and meaningful relationship both within and outside the confines of this corridor.

This was emphasised by Deputy Chief Minister and Minister of Infrastructure Development and Transportation Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing at the 2016 BIMP-EAGA Air Land and Sea Linkages Working Groups Meeting welcoming dinner held recently.

BIMP-EAGA, a sub-regional economic initiative in Southeast Asia, has four members comprising of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

“As most of you know, there is already an established symbiotic relationship between the economies of Sarawak, Brunei Darussalam, Southern Philippines and West/East Kalimantan.

“Although each part of our region has its unique characteristics, they are tied together by regional economic activities and by markets in agricultural produce, manufactured goods and services.

“Thus, towards partnership for development, it is vital for members of the BIMP-EAGA fraternity to forge a more productive and meaningful relationship both within and outside the confines of this corridor.

“We fervently believe regional cooperation exists to nurture and enhance economic, social and environmental development as well as promoting peace and security in the region,” Masing said.

According to Masing, BIMP-EAGA is a smart partnership, which implies the deliberate policy of tripartite cooperation among the civil service, private sector and the political leaders.

“I say this partnership is smart because it has in the past yielded results – results which are shared without exception by everyone, not only by the partners but also by the people and the sub-region as a whole.

“And, I am confident, with coordinated and concerted effort by all sectors, greater results will be evident.

“I strongly believe that BIMP-EAGA can contribute towards the sub-regional development and growth agenda,” he explained.

Masing went on to note that the BIMP-EAGA regime has devised complementary elements between key clusters such as Transport Cluster, Agri-business Cluster, Environment Cluster, Power Cluster, Trade and Facilitation Cluster, Social Cultural and Education Cluster, Tourism Cluster and ICT Cluster.

He has however cautioned that smart partnership is just one element in the formula for success.

“Systems and formulae by themselves cannot guarantee success. This is because other elements do play a critical role and can affect the success of a formula system,” Masing said.

“And so, smart partnership depends also on the environment, i.e. the political and economic environment within and beyond the sub-region, the culture and the value system of the people, and a host of other elements.”

Masing stressed that while systems do not solve problems, people do. “We can bring development to this region and a good life for our people if the people know how the system works and the limits of the system,” he added.

Masing believes that BIMP-EAGA, being a test-bed of the Asean regime, ought to be nurtured with the appropriate care so that the current negative connotations associated with it will be a thing of the past.

“BIMP-EAGA’s less than impressive development can be surmounted, I believe, with our commitment to apportion the appropriate soft and hard infrastructures for it to realise its full potential,” he said.

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