Joining BRICS will diversify Malaysia’s strategic relationships and strengthen its economy.

Rohani Mohammed Ibrahim

KUALA LUMPUR, June 18 (Bernama) — Joining BRICS will further diversify Malaysia’s strategic relationships and ensure its voice is heard in discussions involving major powers, emerging or not.

Mohamed Faiz Abdullah, president of the Malaysian Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS), said it was very important for Malaysia to have a seat at the BRICS table, whether it was for trade facilitation, development funding through the New Development Bank (NDB) or a new currency agreement.

“Building ties with these leading countries will make our economy stronger,” he said when asked by Bernama to comment on Malaysia’s intention to join BRICS, an acronym that stands for the bloc of emerging economies initially made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said in an interview with Chinese media outlet Guancha published on Monday that the country aims to join the BRICS group and will soon begin the membership process.

Commenting further on the matter, Mohamed Faiz said Malaysia’s intention to join BRICS should not be interpreted as a shift away from the country’s long-standing traditional relationships with Western countries.

He said the Southern Hemisphere was a strategic reality that could not be ignored and such a move was not a zero-sum game.

“Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has repeatedly stated on various occasions that in line with the best traditions of our diplomacy, Malaysia will seek to leverage on the complementarities between the various relations between our two countries,” he said.

According to Mohamed Faiz, joining BRICS is a natural outcome of Malaysia’s ongoing efforts to advance the agenda of the Global South.

BRICS was originally established in 2009 as a cooperation platform for emerging economies, with Iran, Egypt, Ethiopia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) joining as new members in January 2024.

Malaysia’s announcement to join BRICS comes weeks after Thailand expressed its desire to join the bloc.

According to Anadolu Agency, Thai Foreign Minister Maris Sangiapongsa said in a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on the sidelines of the BRICS Foreign Ministers’ Summit in the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod that Thailand intends to join the BRICS mechanism as soon as possible.

The news of Malaysia’s intention to join BRICS has elicited mixed reactions from local and international political commentators on social media platforms.

Jonathan Rodrigues, an X-Platform user, said Malaysia’s decision could have a major impact on the global economy and geopolitics.

“Membering BRICS would expand trade and investment opportunities, increase Malaysia’s geopolitical influence and change the regional dynamics in Southeast Asia. The move could also boost BRICS efforts to develop an alternative financial system and give a stronger voice to the global South,” he added.

— Bernama

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