ASEAN-Australia partnership could help youth, women and children with ICT skills – PM Ismail

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PUTRAJAYA OCT.27: Malaysia supports the elevation of ASEAN-Australia Dialogue Relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership and welcomes the announcement by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on further assistance of AUD124 million for the next ten years.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said, the proposed areas of cooperation are highly relevant and as such Malaysia looks forward to mutually beneficial projects across the three ASEAN Community pillars.

Ismail said, Malaysia notes with appreciation Australia’s strong support for ASEAN’s efforts to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. Almost 700 million Australian Dollars have been earmarked for various initiatives. This would greatly assist ASEAN in pursuing its Comprehensive Recovery Framework to implement ASEAN’s recovery strategies and build a future that is sustainable and resilient.

“ASEAN and Australia should also prepare for public health emergencies and emerging diseases through exchange of knowledge and capacity building programmes, including by leveraging on digital technologies.

“Another area that demands our attention is on mental health. Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam and Australia have been working closely on this. In Malaysia, we have launched the Mental Health Strategic Plan 2020–2025 and are planning to establish the National Centre of Excellence on Mental Health.

“In this connection, Malaysia looks forward to working with Member States and Australia to make mental health care more accessible and available through using digital platforms,” Ismail said virtually at the 1st ASEAN-Australia Summit held today.

The Prime Minister warmly welcomes Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to the Summit.

Ismail added, Malaysia looks forward to the proposed ASEAN-Australia Mental Health Experts’ Meeting.

The Prime Minister emphasized that education is a significant element of ASEAN-Australia partnership. Therefore, Malaysia would like to underscore the importance of Technical Vocational Education and Training, and how it can contribute to the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and start-ups.

“The MSMEs in particular account for more than 60 per cent of employment in the region. In strengthening the cooperation in this area, ASEAN can work together with Australia to equip the under-served communities including youth, women and children in the region, particularly with critical ICT skills.

“This would significantly assist in up skilling and developing skilled workers. It would also enhance the quality of the labour force, increase the effectiveness and efficiency of MSMEs and start ups, and ultimately boost supply chain and manufacturing productivity in the region.

“On a separate note, I would like to extend my appreciation for Australia’s participation in the recent Five Power Defence Agreement ‘Bersama Gold’ exercise,” Ismail said.- Malaysia World News

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