Friday, September 13, 2019

Vision 2020 - Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad

During the late 1980's Malaysia was experiencing an average growth rate of 8 percent a year. There was a need to articulate this growth and set an ultimate target, hence the idea of Vision 2020 was born. The late Tan Sri Dr Noordin Sopiee of the Institute of Strategic and International Studies developed a blueprint that defined our country's path to social, economic and political development.

"As a doctor, I am attracted to the optometric measurement of vision. 2020 indicates 100 percent vision in both eyes, as it implied a clear idea of where we wanted to go and what we wanted by the year 2020."

To reach Vision 2020, our economy will have to grow at seven percent per annum over a projected period of 30 years and we had to increase the people's annual per capita income to about US$16,000. I presented the Vision 2020 Paper at the first meeting of the Malaysian Business Council on February 8, 1991. Our development, I said had to be more than just economic.

We had to become a nation that was both politically sophisticated, socially and culturally advanced but without losing our spiritual and moral values. We needed to first establish a single united Malaysian nation. Though born of different races, all Malaysians had to see themselves as nationals of one and the same country.

Different though we were in our origins, ours was a common destiny. Economic wise, we needed to develop a strong and diversified economy that would be fully competitive and dynamic, capable of withstanding and perhaps prospering in difficult times. That meant encouraging the growth of a strong middle class, not just economically but in broad social terms.

Information technology was an area we needed to focus on to fuel the country's development. We also needed to create innovative products that we could update regularly so as not to be left behind with dated technology. Without research, we would never discover anything new that might contribute to our wealth.

Malaysia's route to becoming a developed nation was to be achieved according to our own way, with distinctive ethical and moral values intact. We would chart our own journey and become a developed country in our own cultural mould. Over the years, I would repeatedly emphasise that we believe in establishing a fully caring and sharing society, one that is ferociously dynamic but not rapacious. We wanted a society with a human face and a big human heart.

Our people have to be proud of being Malaysians, proud of their country and its achievements. They had to stand tall in the eyes of the world, through among themselves, they also had to always remain modest about their own social and economic status. Ultimately we realised that there could be no modern economy, society or technology unless there were truly modern people at the heart and core of this new Malaysia. New buildings, systems and industries are not enough, the missing part was people. Malaysians, through education and science need to find their way forward while retaining their Asian values and human identities.

If you look at KLIA or Petronas Twin Towers, you will see great manifestations of that brave new Malaysian modernity. They form the tangible and undeniable testimony of what we are capable of. I hope that in time we would be able to transform ourselves in similarly powerful and impressive ways in order to make the Vision 2020 dream come true. 

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