KUALA LUMPUR, The togetherness of ASEAN members is pivotal in achieving the goals to create a safer and more stable region, and to emerge as the most successful region, Malaysia's Defence Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said.

Speaking at the Putrajaya Forum 2018 today, he said in order to achieve the goals, ASEAN must put greater efforts together, integrate its capacity and capabilities in paving a stronger working relationship down to the lowest level.

While the challenges towards regional security are potent, the opportunities and pathways are just substantive.

This should be our stance as we seek to forge a more secure and prosperous Southeast Asia, he said at the forum entitled Regional Security Crescendos and Its Implication on Stability, here.

Also present were Indonesian Defence Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu, Singapore Defence Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen and the Philippine Under-Secretary For Defence Policy, General Ricardo David Jr.

The forum was organised in conjunction with the Defence Services Asia (DSA) and National Security Asia (NatSec Asia) Exhibition and Conference 2018 which was opened by Deputy Prime Minister Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on Sunday.

Hishammuddin pointed out that as a region, Southeast Asia had experienced unprecedented era of peace and stability, notwithstanding pressures and incoming threats from beyond this region.

As the world grapples with the growing threat of extremist terrorism, it is crucial for us to sit down and come up with an action plan to ensure our region does not face this inhumane terror, he said.

Therefore, he believed that the Putrajaya Forum would be able to contribute and take ASEAN's security integration to greater heights.

Meanwhile, Ryamizard believed that communicating and sharing views regularly and effectively through existing mechanisms such as the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting (ADMM) Retreat, ADMM-Plus and the Putrajaya Forum were vital to counter the non-physical threats that aimed to destroy ASEAN people's mindset.

He said currently ASEAN was confronted with four serious security issues, namely the North Korea issue, South China Sea disputes, Trilateral Issues of Securing the Sulu Sea from the threats of ISIS in East Asia and the development of Rohingya Crisis.

On the same note, Dr Ng said that the ADMM-Plus in particular, was the most important defence and security platform for the region, and that it was a must to redouble efforts to build its resilience and enhance its relevance.

The Putrajaya Forum is an international biennial forum organised by the Malaysian Institute of Defence and Security (MiDAS) as a platform to gather and share views regarding the defence and security issues among government representatives, academicians and industry players.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK