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The expansion of BRICS+: More may be better - Asia Times

The expansion of BRICS+: More may be better - Asia Times
Malaysia and Thailand recently unveiled their plans to join BRICS, which has been rechristened as BRICS+ with the induction of new members. This

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Malaysia and Thailand have announced their plans to join BRICS, now rebranded as BRICS+, a multilateral bloc of rising economies aiming to establish a robust and inclusive multipolar world order. With new entrants such as Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, the group has expanded to a ten-member-strong club. The bloc now represents nearly 3.64 billion people and 45.78% of the world's population, with economies worth over $28.5 trillion.

The decision of Malaysia and Thailand to join BRICS+ is seen as a move to grab more multilateral opportunities rather than being part of an anti-US or anti-West club. The ASEAN region is also making solid inroads into the grouping, with fellow member Indonesia showing interest in joining. The ASEAN Summit agreed to promote the use of local currencies for transactions, as a strategy to transition away from established currencies like the US dollar.

The concerns about unilateral sanctions by the US have prompted Southeast Asian nations to grow more cautious about the dollar's involvement in US-imposed sanctions. Anwar Ibrahim, a prominent figure in Malaysia, has expressed concerns about the situation of the Palestinians and has attracted threats of sanctions from Western countries and their representatives in Malaysia.

While China's prominence in the BRICS makes Malaysia and Thailand feel more secure, BRICS is much more than China or Russia. It is also about India, South Africa, and Brazil, and represents the voices of the Global South. The entry of Malaysia and Thailand will further democratize the BRICS multilateral, keeping it a few more steps away from domination by a few members.