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LETTER | Brics needs common values, respect for human dignity

LETTER | The Association for Welfare, Community, and Dialogue (Acid) welcomes the statement by Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim that Malaysia is preparing to join the emerging economic group known as Brics.

Brics - an acronym for the Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa group - was established to enhance economic, political, and cultural cooperation among its member countries

Officially formed in 2009 (initially without South Africa, which joined in 2010), Brics has become a significant platform for developing countries to advocate for their interests on the global stage.

While there are economic benefits to be derived from such cooperation, the crucial question is whether Brics could bring about an alternative global socioeconomic order that benefits the common good, instead of being dictated by the business interests of an elite few that are prevalent in the neo-liberal economic ideology promoted by Washington consensus.

For the common good to take precedence, nations who are members of Brics must engage in civilisational dialogues that would harness the goodness in each culture and religious traditions that promote the common good.

Having a mere economic priority without the necessary common values related to universal respect for human life and dignity and the particularistic concern of diverse communities within each nation, Brics will not be able to project a real alternative to Western development models.

China and India have looked back at their civilisational past achievements to develop their economy. Such reflections should also be part of the dialogue within the Brics family.

Consensus on values emerging from such a dialogue could create a pathway to good governance, respect for human life and dignity, and the emancipation of the poor and marginalised.

It is obvious the nations of Brics which are made up of Confucius, Christian, Hindu, and Islamic populations, could come up with common values in governance that would project a real alternative to the current Western-dominated political, economic, and social order.

Therefore the Acid would like to urge Brics to embark on inter-civilisational dialogue and bring about values that would be the foundation and compass for its economic decisions and a real voice for all developing nations.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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