No common time zone for Asean yet

South-east Asian foreign ministers yesterday shelved a proposal to adopt a common time zone for the region, saying they could not come to an agreement on it.

Malaysia, this year's chair of the Association of South-east Asian Nations (Asean), had revived an idea mooted in the past for the grouping's 10 countries to synchronise their clocks. They are now spread across four time zones.

The proposal would have put the whole region eight hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), the same zone as regional economic giant China, diplomatic sources had said.

It is believed the move would bring business benefits due to the alignment of stock market trading and banking hours.

But Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said after the annual gathering with his Asean colleagues in Kuala Lumpur that members had "different views on this matter and the meeting decided to put the matter in abeyance".

Singapore Foreign Minister K. Shanmugam told reporters that some Asean members needed more time to digest the idea and adjustments that would be needed.

"We came to the conclusion that it's not something that we can take further right now, but we should continue looking at it," he said. - AFP.