pic by RAZAK GHAZALI
THE government has spent a total of RM43 million since 2019 to prepare for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2020.
International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali (picture) said in organising the event, RM20 million was spent last year while another RM23 million was spent between January and July this year.
“As APEC 2020 will be in full virtually, the total allocation is estimated to be RM50 million. This reduction is because there is no need for accommodation, transportation, physical security and state guest facilities,” he said in his speech during the winding-up debate on the royal decree at the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
He also clarified that the government had never planned to buy luxury vehicles for the use of APEC economic leaders and only cooperate with strategic partners in the provision of transportation services.
“However, as APEC 2020 will be held virtually, this is no longer relevant,” he said.
The minister said the Cabinet meeting on July 24 agreed that Malaysia would continue APEC 2020 virtually until the end of the year.
Following that, Azmin said Malaysia has successfully chaired the APEC Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) for the first time virtually on July 25.
“Although this meeting took place during the bilateral trade tensions between the US and China, APEC led by Malaysia has successfully reached a consensus and issued an MRT joint statement for the second time this year.
“The first time a consensus was reached was on May 5, where the MRT statement related to Covid-19 was successfully produced,” he said.
He said among the strategies taken by Malaysia to ensure that APEC economies reach an agreement is starting initial consultations with all APEC participating countries, especially the US and China.
“This method is effective in addressing expectations and narrowing the gap of views.
“Also, with the hard work and commitment given by all APEC economies in ensuring that the APEC post-2020 vision can complete on schedule, Malaysia is confident that its economic leaders can reach an agreement to launch this vision during the meeting at the end of 2020,” he added.