IDEAS sets up SEANET to promote economic liberalisation in ASEAN

Kuala Lumpur, 30th October 2014 – The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) today announced the launch of Southeast Asia Network for Development (SEANET), a regional centre within IDEAS focused on catalysing the development of ASEAN nations through the adoption of market friendly principles.

SEANET will work with policy makers and opinion leaders in ASEAN nations on its three pillars: property rights, freer movement of goods and people, and inclusive growth. SEANET will do this by producing research and publications, engaging local and regional media, conducting public education through effective open and closed door meetings, and organising training programmes for emerging leaders from ASEAN countries.

ASEAN is home to more than 600 million people. It has the third largest labour force in the world, behind China and India. Foreign direct investment in ASEAN has boomed since the 1997 Asian financial crisis. The ASEAN-5 (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand), attracted USD128 billion in foreign direct investment compared to China’s USD117 billion in 2013.  Clearly ASEAN is an important and growing region.  SEANET aims to help policymakers make ASEAN into one of the world’s most diverse, fast-moving and competitive region.

Capitalising initially on Malaysia’s chairmanship of ASEAN in 2015, SEANET will be headquartered at IDEAS office in Kuala Lumpur.  SEANET will partner with like-minded organisations and individuals throughout the region, and will be appointing more staff and associates as it grows.  To start with, its operations will be led by IDEAS CEO Wan Saiful Wan Jan who will also be SEANET’s Director, and Fareeza Ibrahim as SEANET’s Manager.

SEANET’s first major event will take place on 7 November 2014 in Hong Kong where SEANET is sponsoring a discussion with pro-market think tanks from across Asia. Tunku Abidin Muhriz, (President of IDEAS Malaysia) and Professor Kriengsak Chareonwongsak (President of the Institute of Future Studies for Development Thailand) will examine the opportunities and challenges brought by greater liberalisation in ASEAN, particularly to small and medium enterprises, and how ASEAN countries can ensure that the “smaller actors” are not left out from the region’s growth. This discussion will be chaired by Wan Saiful Wan Jan (Chief executive of IDEAS Malaysia)

For more details, please visit or contact Fareeza Ibrahim at


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