National Assembly president Heng Samrin has suggested that ASEAN look into improving its interaction with the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA), saying the regional bloc had focused mostly on government management.

The suggestion came at a December 28 meeting with Kao Kim Hourn, Minister Delegate attached to the Prime Minister, ahead of his taking up the position of ASEAN secretary-general for a five-year term in the Indonesian capital Jakarta from 2023-2027.

“The regional bloc, which was established more than 50 years ago, has focused mostly on managing governments.

“ASEAN should look into the possibility of strengthening and enhancing its interaction with AIPA, which is an institution representing the peoples of ASEAN,” Samrin said in a social media post.

At the meeting, Samrin commended Kim Hourn on becoming ASEAN secretary-general, saying he was the first Cambodian to hold the important position, and expressed pride and confidence that he would carry out his duties successfully and enhance the prestige of Cambodia.

He added that the role of the secretary-general is of huge important because it represents the engine room of the regional organisation.

“I believe that with the minister delegate’s experience, resolute will and intelligence, and with the cooperation and support of colleagues, Kim Hourn will be a success as ASEAN secretary-general, especially in fully implementing the main polices and action plans of the bloc,” Samrin said.

He added that Kim Hourn had promised to follow his recommendations to carry out the work successfully.

Kim Hourn noted in a recent tweet that ahead of his departure for Jakarta early next year, he had met with Prime Minister Hun Sen on December 27 to listen to his recommendations.

He said he had also met with Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn on December 28, Minister of Education, Youth and Sport Hang Chuon Naron on December 22 and Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong on December 23.

Kim Hourn recalled that he had worked at the foreign ministry for 13 years under former minister Namhong

According to his December 23 tweet, Indonesian ambassador to Cambodia Sudirman Haseng hosted a dinner for him with the participation of ambassadors from several other ASEAN member states.