krar Nusa Bhakti, an analyst from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), is of the opinion that ASEAN has been ineffective in building regional economic cooperation. The organization has only been successful in the political and security sectors.
“Yet, the joint objective of countries in this region is collaboration in the sectors of the economy, social and culture issues, ” Ikrar told reporters following a discussion on ASEAN at LIPI, Jakarta, yesterday.
ASEAN is often confused where the economy is concerned. Ikrar cited the ASEAN Fertilizer project in Aceh, which did not last long and eventually went bankrupt. The ASEAN machinery industry based in Singapore also failed.
Dewi Fortuna Anwar, vice-president in charge of political affairs, was more optimistic. She said ASEAN can build a better economy in the years to come by identifying which joint-industries will be built.
What ASEAN needs in the near future is developing infrastructure that connects advanced countries with less advanced countries in Southeast Asia. This is being done by building ASEAN interconnectivity.
According to Dewi, an infrastructure development is required between west and east Indonesia which is manifested by ASEAN’s economic corridor. ASEAN will be united as it becomes an Economic Community in 2015.
Ikrar, however, did not share Dewi’s optimism. ASEAN produces the same products, creating competition to win the European and American markets. This condition makes it hard for ASEAN member countries to complete against each other.
TEMPO Interactive, 1 December 2010