KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia is expected to play a more prominent role in ensuring the continued stability and peace in the region upon assuming the ASEAN chair next year, said Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
"The South China Sea disputes and the intercession of outside interests makes maintaining the security and stability of the region more complex.
"These possible causes of conflict require more than the diplomatic efforts of our governments to diffuse tensions," he said when closing the Putrajaya Forum yesterday.
Muhyiddin said the world is not only recognising the importance of ASEAN as a platform for maintaining peace and stability, but as a forum for engagement with regional powers such as China, India, Japan and South Korea.
"It is a known fact that since the formation of ASEAN in 1967, there has not been any open conflicts among its member countries.
"The ASEAN way of resolving problems and crises through consensus and with mutual respect have gone a long way towards avoiding unnecessary conflicts and tensions," he said.
He said that as Malaysia is vying for a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council next year, it will augur well for ASEAN and countries in the region should the bid be endorsed.
"With the tragic case of MH370, which has affected the nation so profoundly, the incident not only brought the whole nation and region together but also strengthened the camaraderie we have had among ASEAN members and beyond.
"The close cooperation forged among us will put us in good stead for the future when faced with a security challenge," he said.
Organised by the Malaysian Institute of Defence and Security, the two-day forum was in conjunction with the 14th Defence Services Asia (DSA) Exhibition and Conference at the Putra World Trade Centre.