Malaysia host first ASEAN Digital Ministers Meeting
Chaired by Minister of Communications and Multimedia Saifuddin Abdullah, the virtual meeting will focus on the development of digital ecosystems, including cybersecurity, e-commerce, data protection and 5G infrastructure. The primary goal is for ASEAN to strengthen its status as an economically competitive regional coalition. Its member states have adopted the ASEAN Digital Masterplan 2025, a five-year policy framework that identifies five focus areas: sustainable infrastructure, digital innovation, streamlined logistics, regulatory superiority and labour mobility.
This latest meeting also serves as a forum for cooperation with dialogue partners Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia and the US as well as the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). ASEAN’s ambitious plan for digital development and expansion into a larger world market will likely draw further attention and interest from the US and China, which are already engaged in an ongoing competition for favourable trading terms with the economic bloc.
Expect the US under a new Biden administration to offer investment support for the Digital Masterplan 2025, given ASEAN’s growing presence in East Asia and geopolitical importance as a counterweight to Beijing.