The ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) convened its 36th General Assembly on 7 – 11 September in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Consonant with the aspiration of ASEAN Community Post-2015, the assembly focused on the theme "Engaging a People-Oriented, People-Centered ASEAN Community towards Inclusiveness."
The General Assembly (GA) kicked off with the Meeting of Women Parliamentarians of AIPA (WAIPA). The WAIPA Meeting deliberated proposed resolutions pertaining to the promotion and protection of the rights of women and girls, gender equality and the elimination of violence against women and children in ASEAN.
Speaking at the Opening Ceremony of the GA, H.E. Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima Pandikar Amin Mulia, President of AIPA and the Speaker of the House of Representative of Malaysia expressed optimism that parliaments can do more to help bridge the gap in international relations, especially through parliamentary diplomacy. He underscored that AIPA, through its established parliamentary network across the region as well as at the international level, would be a valuable alternative channel of diplomacy for discussion and negotiations on issues affecting the region.
Meanwhile, Hon. Dato' Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, encouraged the AIPA Secretariat and ASEAN Secretariat to continue to build the relationship through joint activities and develop mechanisms and indicators for effective reviewing and monitoring. He emphasised that such role is essential in supporting the implementation of ASEAN policies and agreements, as well as in building cohesiveness of ASEAN decision-making process.
H.E. Dr. AKP Mochtan, Deputy-Secretary General of ASEAN for Community and Corporate Affairs Department, stated that AIPA, as a platform for ASEAN Parliamentarians, is a significant intermediary in the realization of a people-oriented, people-centered and rules-based ASEAN. He pointed out that AIPA is not only well placed to reach out directly to the people of ASEAN but it can also play an important role in enhancing peace, stability and prosperity in the region which is consonant with the mandates of its statutes.
The Dialogue with AIPA Observer Parliaments provided a platform to share ideas and initiatives as well as enhanced commitments on paving the ways to closer cooperation among parliaments in the region and beyond.
Reflecting the prominence of ASEAN, the participants of the GA included delegations from AIPA member countries; observer parliaments from Australia, Belarus, Canada, People's Republic of China, European Parliament, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russian Federation and Timor Leste; and the ASEAN Secretariat, ASEAN Foundation, ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN WEN), Georgia and Freeland Foundation.