Wednesday, April 11, 2012

ASEAN Deputy Secretary General for the AEC Takes Office

Dr. Lim Hong Hin took office yesterday as the ASEAN Deputy Secretary General for the ASEAN Economic Community (DSG-AEC).   Dr. Lim was hired via open recruitment to replace former Deputy Secretary General S. Pushpanathan.  Dr. Lim's term is for 2012-2015.

Many (including me) would have preferred a candidate, in principle, with direct business experience.  However, a review of Dr. Lim's background provided here shows that he has 5 degrees in business administration, management and computer science. He also headed investment promotion and facilitation at the Brunei Economic Development Board and trade liberalization at the ASEAN Secretariat.  In other words,  Dr. Lim is very familiar with the business community.  

Also, in his immediate prior position at the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), he was working on the next version of the AEC scorecard, one which will go beyond its current quantitative approach (e.g., does this ASEAN member state have a bankruptcy law?) to a qualitative approach (e.g., how well does this ASEAN member state administer its bankruptcy law?).   The new AEC scorecard will be critical to ensuring compliance with ASEAN agreements by the member states.

Thus, although we did not get a businessman for the DSG-AEC role, we did get a business-friendly and experienced administrator from a smaller ASEAN member state (Brunei) that is traditionally pro-ASEAN. All in all, a good development.