ASEAN to establish $120 bn fund to help members

ASEAN to establish $120 bn fund to help members

Putrajaya: The 10 members of Asean have committed to the establishment of a fund, akin to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), to help the grouping during an economic crisis.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Dr Rais Yatim said the preliminary proposal for the fund amounted to $120 billion and it would be established by next February.

“The matter is being discussed through the Asean Finance Ministers meeting in Singapore at present and we should receive news soon. But we have been informed that the fund would be a reality by the time the ASEAN Summit is held in February," he told reporters here on Tuesday.

Dr Rais said even if the physical fund is not ready by then due to time constraints, the political will is there and the dialogue partners, China, South Korea and Japan have also shown a willingness to co-operate.

“The Asean Secretariat has been given the basic information about this. The Asean secretary general, Surin Pitsuwan, has been requested to facilitate the appointment of a top notch financial and economic adviser to be stationed in Jakarta," he said.

Malaysia had mooted the idea of creating an Asian Monetary Fund (AMF) during the Asian financial crisis in 1997 but the idea was shot down by some Western countries. However, there has been talk of reviving the fund with the present economic meltdown.