He said Malaysia's capability and experience as well as aspiration for good governance, higher standards of living, sustainable development, women's empowerment and greater opportunity for the people would serve as a boost for the move to establish the Asean Community (AC) by end-December 2015.
He told Bernama in an interview that focus on such areas would be instrumental in realising the Asean dream of promoting more effective and responsive government, better standards of living and environmental protection, and further empowerment for women and opportunity for all.
The AC comprises three pillars, namely the political and security community, the economic community and the socio-cultural community, that are closely intertwined and mutually reinforced to ensure durable peace, stability and shared prosperity in the region.
Ong said Malaysia's role for 2015 would be to work on such areas because the agenda was part of the 'Roadmap for Asean Community 2009-2015' launched in 2008, and noted that the roadmap was very important as it provided a timeline on what each country needed to do to move things systematically.
"But quite a few of the issues are moving slowly. Thus, Malaysia's goal and objective would be to try to push on that because, if more can be achieved with regard to socio-cultural cooperation, the notion of Asean as a regional body that benefits people will be registered and appreciated more," he said.
He emphasised the need to have a credible chairman which could persuade all countries which had not adhered to the timeline to start increasing the tempo and quickly finish whatever they were doing, and there was no doubt that Malaysia was capable of doing this.
He explained that in this aspect, the countries' performance could actually be monitored just like what Malaysia's Performance Management & Delivery Unit (Pemandu) was doing (monitoring the ministries' Key Performance Index yearly), thus "we have compliance measurement to keep us moving along".
Ong also noted that one other important duty placed upon Malaysia as chairman was to have a proper plan for the new 'Post-2015 Vision', which would chart the Asean collective cause in the future.
He said that as the chair, Malaysia could view what should be done in the Asean post-2015 vision.
Ong was optimistic that Malaysia, as one of the Asean founders and an experienced member of the association, could take the association of 10 member countries to greater success for regional mutual benefit.
Asean was formed on Aug 8, 1967, by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Since then, the membership has expanded to include Brunei Darussalam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.
Asean's objectives include accelerating economic growth, social progress and cultural development among its members; protection of regional peace and stability; and providing opportunities for member countries to discuss differences peacefully.