In recent years, ASEAN member states, including Malaysia, have been actively strengthening their ties with GCC countries such as Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, and the UAE. Both regional blocs are poised to hold their inaugural joint summit in Saudi Arabia, a significant step in fostering deeper collaboration between ASEAN and GCC. Malaysia’s role as the country coordinator for ASEAN in organizing this summit underscores the nation’s commitment to forging closer ties. It is believed that such collaboration will have a substantial impact on the social, economic, and political development of the participating regions.
A report by London-based think tank Asia House in December 2022 highlighted the increasing importance of ties between ASEAN and Gulf states, citing “natural synergies” in their shared visions for economic growth, particularly in areas like digitalization, manufacturing, and logistics infrastructure.
Furthermore, Malaysia has been actively pursuing bilateral cooperation with GCC countries. The country has engaged in discussions with the UAE for a free trade agreement and secured substantial investments in renewable energy projects. These initiatives signal a growing partnership between Malaysia and the Gulf region, with plans to enhance their relations across various fields. Malaysia also places special importance on its ties with Saudi Arabia and seeks to strengthen and expand these relations in the future.