House Speaker Emphasizes COVID-19 Handling at AIPA General Assembly
House Speaker Dr. (H.C.) Puan Maharani speaks at the 41th General Assembly of AIPA on Tuesday (8/9/2020). Photo : Kresno/Man
House Speaker Dr. (H.C.) Puan Maharani urged the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) to take necessary measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic and maintain stability, peace, and security in the Southeast Asia region, stressing that the pandemic had affected people and curbed economic activities that could tip the region into the verge of recession.
Therefore, she pushed parliaments of the ASEAN member states to formulate adequate policies to curb the COVID-19 transmission, minimize bigger impacts on the economy, and ensure social welfare. “We have to maximize parliament roles in performing legislative functions to contain COVID-19 and address its socio-economic impacts, such as by formulating a law on fiscal stimulus or social safety net reinforcement,” she said at the 41th General Assembly of AIPA on Tuesday (8/9/2020).
“With the spirit of ‘Gotong Royong’ (spirit of camaraderie), a traditional term for collective works in Indonesia, we can achieve our common goal that is to escape this COVID-19 pandemic,” added Maharani, the leader of Indonesia’s delegation at the General Assembly held virtually from Ha Noi, Viet Nam. She said parliaments should improve its oversight function to make sure that laws are truly implemented and benefit people.
As for peace issues, she noted that peace, security, and stability were crucial factors in the development and growth in Southeast Asia. “It’s vital for us to maintain peace, friendship, and harmony in Southeast Asia region to enhance cooperation in order to curb the COVID-19 transmission dan address its adverse effects,” she said.
The first female House Speaker called on Southeast Asian countries to prioritize peace, avoid tension, exercise self-restrain and build trust among ASEAN member countries by emphasizing ASEAN centrality.
The Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture (PMK) for 2014-2019 term of office made a statement that the ASEAN Member Parliaments should encourage all ASEAN Member Countries to comply with international law such as the 1982 United Nation Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) as a reference in determining maritime rights, sovereign rights and legitimate interests over marine areas.
"The Code of Conduct in the South China Sea should also be developed as a mutually agreed framework for dialogue and consultation between ASEAN and China in the issue of South China Sea. I hope that the good process can be well implemented," she asserted.
The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) Politician also invited the ASEAN Member Parliaments to take actions and be the front liner in responding to the crisis in Rakhine State, where refugees fall victims to human trafficking and human smuggling. Maharani emphasized that to become a cohesive and responsive ASEAN community, all members must increase their capacity to effectively respond to regional challenges, including the human security.
"Parliamentary cooperation is needed to strengthen relations at the executive level in addressing those issues. It is feared that such sensitive issues will hamper our efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19," Maharani said. "We must prevent the increase of irregular human movement, including human trafficking and human smuggling that occurs in our territorial waters," She asserted.
Vietnam hosts the first ever AIPA General Assembly held virtually from 8 to10 September 2020. The Speaker of the Indonesian House, Puan Maharani, leads Indonesian delegation consisting of 15 MPs. In the opening ceremony and First Plenary Session held on Tuesday, the Speaker was accompanied by a Vice Chairperson of the Committee for Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation, Charles Honoris.
In this 41st AIPA General Assembly, the parliaments of 10 ASEAN member states (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philipines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam), and observers will discuss issues of politics, economy, social affairs, women, young parliamentarian, and organisation.
AIPA is the ASEAN parliamentary forum established on 2 September 1977 by five founder countries namely Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philipines, Singapore, and Thailand to promote understanding, cooperation, and close relations among parliaments of ASEAN member states. (sf)