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Facing MEA: Malaysia is Rising, Thailand Needs to Improve a Lot

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Continuing the collaborative activities of academics from three countries, the Public Administration Department of FIA UB held Focus Group Discussions (FGD) with the theme “Political Economy Policy in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand during the ASEAN Economic Community Era(18/3). In the event which was held in the Seminar Room, Building B, FIA UB, 2nd Floor, present as the main speaker, Prof. Dr. Mohd. Fauzi Yaacob (University of Malaya, Malaysia), Pol. Capt. Vichien Tansirikonghon, Ph.D (Burapha University, Thailand), and Dr. Mardiyono, MPA (FIA UB) moderated by Ahmad Bambang Barrul Fuad, M.Si (FIA UB). The FGD activity was attended by lecturers and students of the FIA UB Postgraduate Program and lecturers who are members of the East Java Indonesian Association of Public Administration (IAPA).

Opening the FGD event, UB Rector Prof. Dr. Ir. Mohammad Bisri said that the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is a good opportunity for ASEAN countries in the era of globalization, especially in the framework of economic development. The Chancellor of UB sees the need for ASEAN countries to work together in creating a regional economic community order that benefits all parties. "Building cooperation among ASEAN countries is very important, especially in accelerating the implementation of the AEC," said the Chancellor.

Meanwhile, Pol. Capt. Vichien Tansirikonghon, Ph.D. This expert in politics from Burapha University, Thailand, invited the participants to think about whether it is necessary to enact a single market that houses ASEAN countries. Vichien views that the AEC is a form of liberalization of the economic sector which has the potential to create economic and social disparities between the strong and weak ASEAN countries. Regarding the readiness of his country, Thailand, in facing the MEA, Vichien openly admitted that his country had not prepared anything. According to him, the Thai government has not yet understood the essence of the AEC so it has not prepared mature policies in the economic sector. "I'm worried that with the AEC, big companies will annex weak small companies, and countries with advanced economies will dominate the domestic economy of weaker countries," said the former police officer who switched professions to become a lecturer.

Kiri-kanan: Vichien Tansirikonghon, Ahmad Bambang Barrul Fuad, Mohd Fauzi Yaacob, Mardiyono
Left-right: Vichien Tansirikonghon, Ahmad Bambang Barrul Fuad, Mohd Fauzi Yaacob, Mardiyono

Meanwhile, Prof. Dr. Mohd. Fauzi Yaacob from Universiti Malaya told more about the secrets of Malaysia's economic revival in the modern era. Yaacob said that in the 1950s to 1970s, the Malaysian government realized that the ethnic Chinese in Malaysia were very strong in terms of control over the economic sector. The Malaysian government, said Yaacob, wants indigenous people to control more of the economy in their own country. Therefore, the Malaysian government established Bumiputera, whose role was to take over and control domestic companies so that indigenous people in Malaysia were more empowered in their own country. "Bumiputera was formed to balance the competition between Malaysia and the Chinese state as well as the ethnic Chinese who live in Malaysia so that the indigenous people have a more role and power in controlling the wealth of their country," said Yaacob.

Coverage Team:

Article: Aulia Luqman Aziz

Photo: Hendrik Tri Laksono, Aulia Luqman Aziz

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