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Malaysia’s Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim decided to join the BRICS. Credit: UN Photo/Cia Pak

Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim announced on June 16, in China’s Guancha publication, that his country has decided to join the BRICS. “We have made our policy clear and we have made our decision,” he stated. “We will start the formal process soon.” At the same time, he indicated that he had discussed the matter in a recent meeting with Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

Anwar said that Malaysia is “relieved” that the unipolar world is a thing of the past, and that the rise of the BRICS, and in particular of China, has created “a glimmer of hope that there are checks and balances in the world.” While the West may still want to “control the discourse” in the world, “we can no longer accept it, because they are no longer a colonial power, and independent countries should be free to express themselves.”

Of note, the Malacca Strait, a key strategic shipping lane, lies between Malaysia and Indonesia’s Sumatra. Increased coordination with Malaysia can only benefit the expanded Asian trade of the BRICS nations. Further, in the same region, Vietnam, Thailand, and Sri Lanka have all shown interest in joining the BRICS.