The Alliance of Muslim Nations (AMN) may not have been raised by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in any specific form or manner yet it carries the potential to re-shape the world order.
But it was clear that this inchoate idea had been in his mind for some time. And it emerged in his conversation with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, when Dr Mahathir spoke of the importance of Malaysia, Pakistan and Turkey working hand-in-hand to reduce their dependence on the usual suspects in the world.
To the list, one must add Iran, Indonesia and Qatar – three of the most strategic Muslim countries in the world.
Iran may be under sanctions of the United States but it is now developing an alternative system of commercial payment with Russia and China, effectively to overcome US domination of the Swift Banking system.
Pakistan is the “iron brother” of China, with significant understanding of the latter’s internal politics. While Malaysia has a sophisticated understanding if China, it helps to have the help of Pakistan too to overcome any imbroglio over the South China Sea.
Qatar is rich with Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). With China depending on coal up to 70% right now, which increases it’s pollution problem, Qatar and Malaysia’s rich reserves of LNG can reduce the energy consumption profile of China, thereby reducing the threat of climate change too.
Indonesia is no less a major power and producer in LNG. It also plays a powerful role in the Indo-Pacific and the Straits of Malacca side-by-side with Malaysia.
Turkey, in turn, controls the Bosphoros Straits, which makes the United States and Russia, not excluding China, ever respectful of it; not to mention France and the United Kingdom too.
If there is an Alliance of Muslim Nations, what the world will see is nothing less than an Islamic version of G6. Other Muslim countries have to be brought into the coalition too, further strengthening the alliance.
When Malaysia is in the Alliance of Muslim Nations, it can also lean on the membership of Indonesia in G20, and the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Country (OPEC).
As long as Malaysia and Turkey, which is a sectoral partner of Asean, can imagine the above scenario, in a comprehensive and strategic manner, there is no reason why the Islamic world has to be constantly at the whims and fancies of other external powers, as the Alliance of Muslim Alliances controls all the major maritime choke points in the Straits of Malacca, Gulf of Oman, Straits of Hormuz, and Bosphoros Sea.
Since maritime-borne trade is three times cheaper than rail freight, the impact of the Muslim world would be significant on the fate of the world commerce.
Together we stand, as Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad said at the PKR’s PD Retreat last week, divided we fall.
What is valid in Pakatan Harapan is equally true in the world of Islam.
Dr Rais Hussin is Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia strategist.