Mr. Thongsing Thammavong
President of the National Assembly of the Lao PDR
Head of the Lao Delegation at the 28th General Assembly
of the Asean Inter-parliamentary Assembly (AIPA)
19-23 August 2007
Excellency, Speaker of the House of Representatives of Malaysia and
President of AIPA
Honourable Presidents and Heads of AIPA Member Delegations,
of Special Observer and Observer Delegations,
It is my
pleasure and great honor to have occasion to attend the 28th
General Assembly of AIPA in beautiful Kuala Lumpur. On behalf of the
Delegation of the National Assembly of Lao PDR, and on my own behalf, I
would like to express my thanks to His Excellency Tan Sri Dato’ Ramli bin
Talib, Speaker of the House of Representatives of
Malaysia and President of AIPA for his invitation extended to me and my
Delegation to participate in this significant event. Allow me to express my
congratulations to the Parliament of Malaysia, as well as to the Malaysian
people for their well-made arrangements and the warm and impressive welcome
given to the delegations present here.
The 28th AIPA General Assembly is taking place
amidst celebrations by the people of Malaysia to commemorate their 50th
national day anniversary. As a representative of the people of Laos, I would
like to express my sincere greetings and congratulations to the Malaysian
people for their great achievements in their national development throughout
50 years of independence.
This year, we also mark 30 years of parliamentary
cooperation among our nations. During this period, we have seen the
enlargement of the organization, both in terms of membership and its role in
political life in the region. In harmony with the needs of the new era, the
27th General Assembly in Cebu, the Philippines, resolved to
restructure AIPO to be stronger and more efficient. And as result, the name
“AIPO” was changed to “AIPA”. The Extra-Ordinary Meeting of the Executive
Committee held in mid-April in Kuala Lumpur adopted the newly amended
Statute and Rules, and appointed the AIPA Secretary General according to the
new rule for the administrative operation of the secretariat. This 28th
General Assembly is the first meeting conducted under the new name “AIPA”.
The reform of AIPA constitutes both opportunities and
challenges for all members in order to enhance ownership in further
performing and upgrading their political accountability.
During the last year, in general, our political region
has steadily stabilized; through the process of drafting an ASEAN Charter,
ASEAN is advancing to a new era in the history of regional cooperation. The
economies of countries in this region have continued to grow rapidly; mutual
assistance in ASEAN has increased with tangible results. These successes
have ensured that ASEAN has become the focus of much attention and interest
from the international community. Besides these positive trends, our region
is also confronted with a number of challenges. The high price of oil is
felt acutely given that a reliable source of renewable energy has not yet
been secured. Epidemic diseases, in particular Avian Influenza, continue to
threaten. Currency fluctuations affect various countries in our region.
Meanwhile global warming appears to be leading to more extreme and
destructive weather patterns. These global issues have a real impact on our
region and require a concerted effort to tackle them. If these problems are
not solved in a proper and timely manner, they will inevitably effect
regional economic growth and the living conditions of our people.
In the process of ASEAN evolution focusing on the
drafting of an ASEAN Charter to be submitted to the ASEAN Summit in November
this year, AIPA has been actively involved. For instance, a meeting was held
between AIPA representatives and ASEAN High Level Task Force on the Drafting
of the ASEAN Charter in last May. A number of perspectives and viewpoints
were shared regarding the content of the Charter and especially relating to
the role of AIPA in ASEAN’s political sphere.
AIPA is closely involved in ASEAN’s roadmap; the draft of
the ASEAN Charter discussed during the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in late
July in Manila, codifies general principles that ASEAN will sustain a status
of inter-governmental organization. Thus, the AIPA role should be determined
in conformity with the ASEAN directives and general principles.
As ASEAN identities with a diversity of society and
disparities of development between the old and new members, ASEAN’s
immediate priorities should focus on boosting economic growth; improving the
living conditions of the people; and narrowing the development’s gap. These
are crucial factors and potentials paving the way to ASEAN integration in
the future. Meanwhile, AIPA should endeavour to enhance its ownership and
contribution to ASEAN activities including the formulation of ASEAN future
directions. And indeed, we have recently noted a more regular AIPA-ASEAN
relationship. In this regard, may I express my appreciations to the
President and the leading team of AIPA for their active efforts in the past
The Lao PDR is continuing to make progress in terms of
national development with the goal of transcending least developed status
and addressing poverty of the people. In the past year, a number of
achievements have been witnessed. Political stability within the Nation has
been maintained; socio-economic development has grown in a sustainable
manner and with greater momentum; market-based production has expanded; and
foreign investors have expressed more interest in the investment in Laos.
Meanwhile, the State has made a concerted effort to implement policies of
economic reform and to strengthen the rule of law in order to facilitate
production, trade and investment.
National Assembly has made a significant contribution to these successes, in
particular through enhancing ownership and accountability in elaborating and
amending laws; in encouraging the public to effectively and strictly respect
the Constitution and laws; in attentively overseeing the executive and
judicial bodies in relation to the enforcement of laws and the
implementation of national plans. However, we are still faced with a number
of internal and external constraints to be urgently solved in order to
ensure the progress of the national development.
Over the years, our National Assembly has been an active
participant and contributor to AIPA activities. We have jointly deliberated
on various matters, and we have disseminated information about AIPA among
the Lao people to ensure better recognition and understanding. In the
future, we will continue to actively contribute to the achievement of
further parliamentary cooperation.
With the commitment and diligence of AIPA leadership, I
believe that our Assembly will be strengthened with more outstanding
performance in the next years. Based on the spirit and directives of a new
Charter, ASEAN will be consolidated and further developed, and the living
conditions of the people - our constituents - will be improved.
In conclusion, once again, I would like to express my
deep thanks to the Parliament of Malaysia for hosting this event. May I
extend my best wishes to the Government and people of Malaysia on the
occasion of the 50th anniversary of the founding of their nation.
I wish the 28th General Assembly of AIPA the utmost success, and
I wish happiness to the distinguished delegates and guests gathered here.