KUALA LUMPUR: Asean exports are projected to increase by more than 40 per cent with full implementation of the Economic Community, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Najib said a research by the Asian Development Bank and the International Labor Organisation suggested that it could boost Asean’s Gross Domestic Product by seven per cent over the next decade.

Najib also said Asean’s challenge now is to ensure the benefits of its growth are spread wide and investing in infrastructure that will unlock development.

“This also means focusing our greatest assets which is the people.

“Under Malaysia’s Chairmanship, we will prioritise public communication to help people appreciate the benefits of economic integration,” he said in his speech during the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ABAC) 2015 Chairmanship Handover Dinner here tonight.

Najib said Malaysia will carry out a stock-take of where it stands to understand more on what need to be done in 2015.

Here, he said the private sectors could help by doing an objective gap analysis and suggesting ways to fill the gaps.

The Lift-The-Barriers report by CARI and the ASEAN Business Club are helpful, he added.

He said a survey carried out by ABAC found almost 40 per cent of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are not aware of ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).

Najib added 2014 saw some RM13 billion raised in partnership with private sector which was spent on SME projects. –news@nst.com.my