CYBERJAYA, Malaysia� The Volunteering for the International Professionals (VIP) Fellowship Programme 4.0 will continue to expand to three under-privileged ASEAN countries such as Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar beginning next year.

Treasury Secretary-General, Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah, said this step would help low-income ASEAN nations benefit from the programme which would improve the lives of the community.

He said the VIP, which has been conducted for the last three years, was currently being conducted in Cambodia and Indonesia.

Mohd Irwan said the expansion idea for the fourth year was made following successful VIP programmes in the country under the National Blue Ocean Strategy initiative.

We need to help people from Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar, especially the Rohingyas.

That is why Malaysia voluntarily set up a hospital at Cox Bazaar with modern facilities for them. I was told the Rohingyas don't want to leave the hospital, he told reporters at the closing ceremony of the VIP Fellowship Programme here today.

Mohd Irwan said VIP Fellowship Programme has impacted 25,105 beneficiaries in Malaysia, Cambodia, Philippines and Indonesia since three years ago.

A total of 29 foreigners and 19 locals participated in the VIP 2017 programme, working in 10 sustainable impact projects across ASEAN in both rural and city.

He said the VIP programme aimed to gather professionals to contribute their expertise towards the social and economic development of Malaysia and ASEAN through voluntary activities.

Mohd Irwan, who also closed the Bahasa Inggeris 1Malaysia (BI1M) nationwide programme, added the government would always provide Malaysians with opportunities to upskill themselves and strive towards the Transformation Nasional 2050 (TN5O) vision.

He said this was in line with the country's aspiration to place Malaysia among the the top countries in economic development, citizen well-being and innovation.

We to improve the standard of English by teaching basic communicative skills in both urban and rural areas which will enhance in job seeking and promoting businesses in the nation's growth in line to emerge as a developed economy nation.

BI1M programme re-employs retired teachers, retirees and fresh graduates working experience as local facilitators. It has spearheaded over 218 community events and impacted 15,485 individuals in the past two years.

At the event, Mohd Irwan also presented certificates to the volunteers and successful participants of the programme.