Today we celebrate the forty-sixth anniversary of ASEAN - a regional grouping of ten countries that strives to offer a sense of hope, confidence and purpose to more than six hundred million people in the Southeast Asian region.
ASEAN is making good progress in meeting its objectives. And each year I am pleased to see its members intensifying efforts to make the region more politically cohesive, economically integrated and socially responsible.
On this year’s theme, ‘Our people, Our Future Together’, we emphasise the role of our people in ASEAN’s community building efforts and look beyond 2015. With the programmes that have been organised for our youth, we are equipping them with the necessary attributes and values to face tomorrow’s challenges. They are after all the future leaders of ASEAN.
As we celebrate today’s achievements, we should not forget the Founding Fathers of ASEAN. The ASEAN/Bangkok Declaration, which they signed in 1967, is an important document that paved the way for many other ASEAN agreements and declarations. We should carry on their wisdom, vision and courage and let them be the source of ASEAN’s inspiration into the future. In this spirit, we pay our respects to them.
Lastly, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish all my fellow Muslims a Happy Festive Eid.
SULTAN HAJI HASSANAL BOLKIAH