The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Business | Thu, June 26 2014, 8:29 AM
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was formed to strengthen cooperation between its member states rather than to integrate them, a noted economist of the University of Indonesia (UI) has said.
“This regional grouping is not a move toward economic integration, particularly total integration,” Faisal Basri told a seminar on strengthening Indonesia’s role in the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in Jakarta on Tuesday.
Faisal argued that the formation of the AEC, which is set to begin in 2015, was aimed at making ASEAN appear more attractive to investors outside the region.
“Thus, from the beginning, ASEAN was not formed for the sake of integration as seen with the European Union [EU],” he said.
According to Faisal, the term “connectivity”, used to address the relationships between ASEAN member states, is a “soft term” that shows ASEAN is not prepared for integration because of the geographical conditions of its members.
While the majority of EU member states are located on the European continent, the geographical arrangement of ASEAN member countries is archipelagic, he stated.
Formed in Bangkok, Thailand, in 1967, ASEAN currently comprises Indonesia, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
Faisal Basri is currently senior lecturer at the Faculty of Economics, University of Indonesia and Chief of Advisory Board of Indonesia Research & Strategic Analysis (IRSA). His area of expertise and discipline covers Economics, Political Economy, and Economic Development.
His prior engagement includes Economic Adviser to the President of Republic of Indonesia on economic affairs (2000); Head of the Department of Economics and Development Studies, Faculty of Economics at the University of Indonesia (1995-98); and Director of Institute for Economic and Social Research at the Faculty of Economics at the University of Indonesia (1993-1995), the Commissioner of the Supervisory Commission for Business Competition (2000-2006); Rector, Perbanas Business School (1999-2003).
He was the founder of the National Mandate Party where he was served in the Party as the first Secretary General and then the Deputy Chairman responsible for research and development. He quit the Party in January 2001. He has actively been involved in several NGOs, among others is The Indonesian Movement.
Faisal Basri was educated at the Faculty of Economics of the University of Indonesia where he received his BA in 1985 and graduated with an MA in economics from Vanderbilt University, USA, in 1988.