ASEAN nationals should be able to get consular assistance from embassies of other ASEAN member states, particularly if their own country does not have a mission in a foreign nation, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam proposed during a meeting of regional leaders yesterday.
The monarch made the proposal during the 24th ASEAN Summit yesterday in Naypyitaw, Myanmar.
This would allow the people to travel with the assurance that assistance can be provided, especially in countries where they have no representation, he said.
His Majesty said this would require ASEAN countries to raise the ASEAN flag alongside their national flag in missions abroad.
The ASEAN Secretariat should be given the appropriate support and resources to carry out this work, he added.
Touching on regional connectivity, the Sultan expressed appreciation on the work done on the ASEAN business travel card and ASEAN visa-free travel, and hoped these measures would be implemented later this year to facilitate the movement of people across the region.
His Majesty added that community-building would be an ongoing process, even in the post-2015 era, and that leaders must continue efforts with renewed enthusiasm.
The monarch said ASEAN should continue with commitments made under Brunei's chairmanship last year, in the areas of youth, health, women and children, disaster management and social protection.
His Majesty noted that over the past decade, ASEAN has been resilient, even when faced with challenging developments around and within the region.
ASEAN leaders need to remain vigilant of such external factors, and continue to enhance competitiveness in trade and investment, with the aim of moving ASEAN up the global value chain, His Majesty said.
His Majesty later departed Myanmar after attending the ASEAN summit. Before leaving for the Naypyitaw International Airport, a doa selamat was read by State Mufti Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia (Dr) Ustaz Hj Awang Abdul Aziz Juned.