Thank you for giving me the floor and congratulations, Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun, on your election as Chair of the Council until our next meeting.
I am very glad that we are finally able to meet again in person, and I am deeply grateful to Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun and her team for the extensive preparations made to ensure that this long-awaited gathering can take place smoothly and for the outstanding hospitality that has been extended to all of us.
Before I turn to a few substantive remarks, please let me state for the record that while we are delighted to participate in today’s meeting of our judiciaries, our participation does not in any way imply the Singapore Government’s recognition of the State Administration Council as the Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar.
It has been three long and extremely challenging years for all of our countries and judiciaries since the pandemic started. But it is testament to the strength of our shared commitment towards judicial cooperation that the CACJ has steadily continued its work, with extremely productive virtual Council Meetings being held in 2020 and 2021. Since last year’s Meeting, the CACJ working groups have made considerable further progress. Just to take one example of the fruits of their labour, we will be discussing today the adoption of a set of common values, aspirations and principles for cross-border disputes involving children, which endorses taking a therapeutic approach in such disputes. Our existing initiatives are also going from strength to strength, with the ASEAN Judiciaries Portal seeing a significant increase in visitor numbers this year.
These achievements speak to the great value that we derive from judicial cooperation in ASEAN, and the strong and growing appetite for continuing this engagement. As we mark the 10th anniversary of the CACJ, this year’s Meeting is also a timely occasion to reflect on the milestones in our journey so far, and to start charting the course for the future. It is therefore fitting that we will also be setting a new milestone in judicial cooperation in the region at the inaugural ASEAN+ Meeting tomorrow. As we come to our 10th Anniversary, we will later today under the discussion on new proposals propose the holding of an off-cycle retreat for the Council to reflect on the work of the last decade and to look at what lies ahead. I would once again like to thank and congratulate Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun and her team for hosting this year’s Council Meeting and the ASEAN+ Meeting, and to express my deep appreciation to the CACJ Thailand team for steering the arrangements for the ASEAN+ Meeting. Finally, I would like to thank and congratulate Chief Justice Syarifuddin for completing his tenure as Chair of the Council with distinction.
Thank you all, and I look forward to a fruitful discussion.