The Sixth Meeting of ASEAN Labour Ministers was held in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam on 27 – 29 November 1986.
His Meeting was attended by Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Bakti DiRaja Dato Laila Utama Awang Haji Isa, Special Advisor to His Majesty Sultan and Yang Di Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam at the Prime Ministers’ Office and Minister of Home Affairs of Brunei Darussalam; H.E. Mr. Sudomo, Minister of Manpower of the Republic of Indonesia; H.E. Dato’ Lee Kim Sai, Minister of Labour of Malaysia; H.E. Mr. Augusto S. Sanchez, Minister of Labour and Employment of the Philippines; H.E. Mr. Lee Yock Suan, Acting Minister for Labour, Singapore; Mr. Chamnarn Potchana, Director-General of the Department of Labour, Ministry of Interior, Thailand and their delegations, the Secretary- General of the ASEAN Secretariat, H.E. Mr. Roderick Yong.
His Majesty Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, Sultan and Yang Di- Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam graciously opened the Meeting. In his inaugural address, His Majesty emphasised the importance of ASEAN in promoting regional cooperation not only in political but also in social and economic fields. For this to continue, His Majesty stressed the need for the future generations to maintain the commitment to ASEAN ideals. His Majesty commended the achievements made through the Labour Ministers’ forum in enhancing the well- being of the peoples in the region. His Majesty also pointed out the importance of having skilled, disciplined and rightly motivated workforce in pursuance of the economic and social goals of ASEAN. On the problems relating to drug abuse, His Majesty stressed the need for the energies of the youth of ASEAN to be harnessed and channeled towards the development of the society.
In his welcoming address, Yang Berhormat Pehin Dato Haji Isa, on behalf of the Ministers and delegates to the Sixth ASEAN Labour Ministers’ Meeting expressed his heartfelt gratitude for His Majesty’s gracious presence and for His Majesty’s consent o officially open the Meeting. The Minister outlined the progress and achievements made through the Labour Ministers’ forum since its establishment in 1975. He expressed his confidence that the forum would further explore areas of cooperation in the socio-economic fields to ensure peace and stability in the ASEAN region.
The Meeting took note of the satisfactory progress in the implementation of the recommendations adopted at the Fifth ASEAN Labour Ministers’ Meeting held in Manila and agreed to intensify ASEAN technical cooperation.
The Meeting endorsed that the ASEAN Training and Information Centre for Improvement of Working Conditions and Environment project be based in Jakarta. It further agreed that the project be resubmitted to the UNDP for funding as an ASEAN priority project.
The Meeting agreed that the ASEAN Programme on Industrial Relations and Labour Studies (APIRLAS) be based in the ILO Regional Office in Bangkok.
The Meeting recorded its appreciation to the ILO, UNDP and member countries for the satisfactory progress of the ASEAN Programme on Industrial Relations for Development.
Recognizing the importance of the informal sector in employment generation and economic growth, the Meeting expressed the need that this sector be given adequate protection and benefits and that the capacity of the informal sector in contributing to economic development be upgraded. It called on the ILO, UNDP and donor countries that assistance to ASEAN countries in this area be further enhanced.
The Meeting reiterated its grave concern over the increasing protectionist barriers and practices which adversely affects industrial relations, employment and productivity. It also noted with regret the emergence of new forms of labour protectionism experienced by most ASEAN member countries.
On International Labour Standards, the Meeting agreed that:
a) International Labour Standards be included as a regular item for future Senior Officials’ Meetings;
b) The ILO provide more promotional measures such as sub-regional seminars, training fellowships and internships in this area; and
c) ASEAN member countries continue to exchange information and experiences in respect of International Labour Standards.
The Meeting expressed their deep appreciation for the acceptance of Indonesia to host the Seventh ASEAN Labour Ministers’ Meeting in 1988.
The Delegations of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand expressed their sincere appreciation to the Government and the people of Brunei Darussalam for the warm hospitality and the excellent arrangements for the Meeting.
The Meeting was held in traditional spirit of ASEAN cordiality and solidarity.
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