He noted that without it, ASEAN would not be a very pleasant place for the more than 600 million people who called it home.
"This is because ASEAN is not a supra-national entity like the European Union," Raja Nazrin said in his keynote address at the 4th Southeast Asian Studies Symposium themed 'The Year of ASEAN: Integrating Southeast Asia' in conjunction with the Economic Panel Conference, at Sunway University here today.
The Perak ruler pointed out that ASEAN members were largely at peace with each other but there existed ethnic and religious divisions in some of them that gave rise to social and security challenges.
In this regard, the Sultan said those grappling with insurgencies, armed resistance and civil unrest may want to do more to explore peaceful avenues for conflict resolution.
"Neighbours can assist to mediate in the process as in the case with the Philippines and Thailand," he said, alluding to the role of Malaysia, which is the current chairman of ASEAN, in peace efforts in the two countries.
As the ASEAN community took firmer root and member economies became more integrated along with the cultivation of a stronger "we" feeling, Raja Nazrin said the authority over some decision-making may be usefully transferred to ASEAN bodies.
"ASEAN should also relax the requirement of consensus in decision-making," he said, adding that the flexibility that came with it would free ASEAN from constraints which would make for a more dynamic regional entity.
The Sultan said it would also facilitate more nimble responses to challenges in the greater interest of the majority.