‘ASEAN states must enhance the quality of their skilled professionals’

National 1 minute, 39 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

AN ASEAN expert stressed the importance of enhancing the competitiveness of certain skilled professionals in the region through formal higher education and skills development.

Ratna Shofi Inayati, a Jakarta-based researcher at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), said recently that when skilled labour lacks sufficient knowledge, it will have implications for the current workforce and future generations.

With the recent official launching of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), the regional bloc became a single common market and production base which will lead to the free flow of goods, services, investment capital and skilled labour.

“It’s important to maintain competitiveness and prepare the local (skilled) workforce (in each ASEAN country) in order to compete with (professional) workers from other ASEAN countries,” Ratna said in an e-mailed response to The Brunei Times.

ASEAN member states established the bloc’s Mutual Recognition Arrangements (MRAs) which aim to make it easier for certain skilled professionals to work in other ASEAN countries.

The MRAs will make it easier for doctors, dentists, nurses, architects, engineers, accountants, surveyors and tourism professionals to work in other ASEAN member states.

However, she said, the understanding of the importance of professional certification in ASEAN member states is still limited.

The matter pertaining to the free flow of skilled labour within the regional bloc has yet to become widely known and recognised by people in ASEAN countries.

“This will have an impact on the (ASEAN) community whether the AEC is favourable or not for them,” she said.

“Most people aren’t aware of the free flow of skilled labour in the ASEAN region,” she added.

The 10 ASEAN member states including Brunei Darussalam officially launched the AEC on December 31 last year, achieving a milestone in the bloc’s regional economic integration agenda that offers opportunities in the form of a huge market of US$2.6 trillion and over 622 million people.

In 2014, ASEAN was collectively the third largest economy in Asia and the seventh largest in the world.

The Brunei Times