Covid-19: ASEAN’s must address short-term relief and long-term survival for businesses

The first online ASEAN Roundtable Series organised by the CIMB ASEAN Research Institute (CARI) brought together business leaders from Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Indonesia to discuss the series of stimulus measures announced by several ASEAN governments in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The panellists consist of four of ASEAN’s leading business leaders and expert, Chua Soon Ghee, Partner of Kearney Singapore; Shinta Widjaja Khamdani, CEO of Sintesa Indonesia; Arin Jira, Chairman of the Map Ta Phut Industrial Gasses Co Ltd Thailand and Jose Ma Concepcion III, President and CEO of RFM Corporation Philippines. The panel discussion was chaired by Tan Sri Dr. Munir Majid, Chairman of the CARI.

“We should not be in a state of Covid-19 paralysis. Yes, we must first confront the attack on health and lives. We must also, however, open up corridors to livelihoods and economic activity which have been decimated. We must find the median that makes them not mutually exclusive. This calls for imaginative policy implementation and enforcement, as well as for personal and corporate discipline,” noted Munir in his opening remarks.

In closing, Munir urged ASEAN leaders to deepen ASEAN integration in response to the post-pandemic trade order.

“In the aftermath of Covid-19, globalization will be diminished. There will be greater regionalization of the world in which ASEAN is well-placed if it took its chances, and truly established the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), that single production base and market long-promised but still fragmented by barriers and nationalist sentiment.

“The post-Covid-19 economic recovery is entirely in ASEAN’s hands and in those of its partners in the wider Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP),” he said.

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