Anwar: Malaysia will soon become BRICS ‘partner nation’, alliance will not interfere in domestic politics

KUALA LUMPUR, July 9 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today sought to allay Malaysia’s concerns, saying the country’s membership of the BRICS intergovernmental organisation will not affect domestic politics.

Anwar told state media that while the EU membership application process may take some time, Malaysia was likely to be recognised as a “partner country” soon.

“Countries like China and Russia have different systems but are close to us in terms of trade and cooperation,” he said during a ministerial question-and-answer session.

“Our decision is not to interfere in the domestic politics of each country, but to emphasize the priority of economic and trade relations and expand our network to benefit countries and their people, especially traders and investors.”

Anwar was responding to MP Lee Chuan How (Ipoh, Timor-Leste), who asked him what direction Malaysia was heading with its intention to join BRICS and how the move would benefit the country’s economic development.

In her follow-up question, Doris Sophia Brody (GPS-Sri Aman) also asked how Malaysia’s membership in BRICS will affect its relations and cooperation with other countries.

Anwar also compared the situation to Malaysia’s relations with Western countries and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) bloc, saying Putrajaya was not necessarily in agreement with other member states.

“There are also major disagreements and differences, such as the Gaza issue, the developing countries issue, and trade competition issues at the WTO,” he said, referring to the World Trade Organization.

“If trade is a priority, relationships should not be damaged.”

Anwar also said the government was confident that Malaysia’s membership in the alliance would benefit the country as the union’s gross domestic product (GDP) reached US$26.6 trillion (RM125 trillion), accounting for 26.2 percent of global GDP.

The Prime Minister first announced Malaysia’s intention to join BRICS in June.

The coalition initially consisted of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, but Iran, Egypt, Ethiopia and the United Arab Emirates were also admitted as members.

The BRICS currently account for a quarter of the world economy, a fifth of world trade and about 40% of the world’s population.

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