ASEAN Peoples’ Forum (APF) 2015 will be expecting over 1,400 participants in to attend the annual civil society conference in Kuala Lumpur, which aims to bring together members of civil society and government to discuss the concerns of people in the region.
“It’s going to be an incredible gathering of civil society organisations, activists, international agencies, and government representatives from across Southeast Asia,” said Jerald Joseph of Pusat Komas and co-chair of APF 2015. “We are sure that constructive dialogue on the concerns of ASEAN people will take place.”
The response to the forum has been overwhelming and registration has since closed, said Mr Joseph.
Organisers also announced that Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the former Prime Minister of Malaysia, would be delivering the keynote address for the forum.
Maria Chin Abdullah, Chair of BERSIH 2.0, who is part of the APF 2015 organising committee, said, “It’s very symbolic for Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to speak this year. He actually helped organise the first ASEAN civil society conference in Malaysia, under his Premiership in 2005.”
“Hopefully he’ll share his thoughts on whether ASEAN has become more people-centred in the past ten years, or not,” she added.
In addition to the keynote address and other plenary sessions, participants will attend thematic sessions organised by ASEAN civil society organisations. More than 60 thematic sessions are being held during the conference, which will include:
- Indigenous People
- Youth / Student
- Migrants / Trafficking / Refugee
- Urban Poor
- Agriculture /Fisheries
- Democracy and Elections
- Economics, Trade and Consumerism
- Freedom of Expression / Freedom of Information
One such thematic session is a workshop organised by the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) and the Committee for Asian Women, titled “The ASEAN Economic Community: Benefits Who?”.
Gopal Krishnam, secretary-general of MTUC explained: “At the workshop, we will introduce and promote a framework for a more social ASEAN — one that is truly people-centred.”
The APF 2015 will be held on 21 to 24 April 2015, at Wisma MCA in Kuala Lumpur. The full programme of the APF 2015 can be viewed at aseanpeople.org.