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More countries seek to apply for BRICS

(China Daily/ANN) -- Malaysia and Thailand’s interest in joining BRICS is expected to expand trade opportunities and allow the two economies to have a bigger role in an increasingly multipolar world, analysts said.
Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said the country will soon go through the formal procedure to join BRICS. The Malaysian government is currently waiting for feedback and the final results from South Africa, Anwar told Shanghai-based news site Guancha.

Malaysian trainees experience driving a high-speed train in a simulation at a vocational school in Liuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

At the BRICS Foreign Ministers Summit held earlier this month in Russia, Thai Foreign Minister Maris Sangiampongsa said: “The sooner the inclusion of potential new BRICS partners, the stronger the voice of BRICS on the world stage will be.” Thailand’s cabinet endorsed the country’s application for BRICS membership in May.
“I would highly appreciate your support of Thailand’s full membership, and hope that it could be announced at the upcoming BRICS Summit in October in Russia,” Maris said in his speech.
James Chin, professor of Asian Studies at the University of Tasmania in Australia, said Malaysia and Thailand are both “looking for platforms to make their voices (heard)”. BRICS is “widely seen as a developing countries’ platform”, he noted.
“For Malaysia, joining BRICS lies within its strategy of hedging and not betting on only one external partner,” Julia Roknifard, assistant professor in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Nottingham Malaysia, said.
She said it was “remarkable” that Anwar made his statement ahead of Chinese Premier Li Qiang’s official visit to Kuala Lumpur last week to mark 50 years of diplomatic relations. “It is more than likely that Malaysia is signaling for China’s support in its bid for membership,” Roknifard said.
Thomas Daniel, a senior foreign policy fellow with the Institute of Strategic and International Studies Malaysia, is not surprised that Malaysia wants to join BRICS.
“Given the rhetoric of Prime Minister Anwar on the Global South, on multipolarity, on the perceived double standards of Western-backed mechanisms and rules, and on diversified economic development, the possibility of Malaysia considering an application (to join BRICS) was always more likely than not,” Daniel said.
Wan Suhaimie Wan Mohd Saidie, head of economic research at Malaysia’s Kenanga Investment Bank, said Malaysia’s decision to join BRICS is “a notable geopolitical shift, potentially moving closer to a bloc that is often seen as a counterbalance to Western balance”. He said having a BRICS membership can also help Malaysia attract more investments from China and India.
“Malaysia would need to ensure that its economic policies are flexible enough to adapt to the demands of BRICS membership while safeguarding its economic sovereignty and stability,” Wan Suhaimie said.
Active participation
Narongsak Putthapornmongkol, president of the Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce, said being a part of BRICS can solidify Thailand’s influence among developing nations and support the country’s active participation in international groups, including the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and the Group of 77.
BRICS is the acronym for the five emerging economies — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. At its annual summit held in Johannesburg in August, the bloc’s membership expanded to include Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran and the United Arab Emirates.
Malaysia and Thailand are not the only ASEAN countries keen on joining BRICS. Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who attended the 2023 BRICS Summit, said his country is studying to join BRICS. Pham Thu Hang, spokesperson of Vietnam’s foreign ministry, told a press briefing in Hanoi in May that Vietnam is closely monitoring the process of BRICS membership expansion.
Kriengsak Chareonwongsak, president of the Institute of Future Studies for Development in Thailand, said that by joining BRICS, developing countries can have their voices heard on the world stage. “We need to join alliances that would help us to be able to make our presence felt and our voices heard,” he said.
The United States-led global order will eventually face an “alternative order that emerges as a balancing act”, Kriengsak said.
Analysts said once they become members, if approved, both countries can bring something to the table, given their strategic location.


(Latest Update June 27, 2024)

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