Saturday, 17 January 2015

Malaysian blurry vision of 2020

What is meant by the Vision 2020? Ask school-going children to show this in an illustration and you will see paintings of flying cars and skyscrapers and high-speed trains.

But is this what we envisioned when drawing paintings of Vision 2020 when we were in school? Without an economy based on high technology and knowledge, we can not claim that we have developed. The fact is none of the products made in Malaysia today are truly world class.

It is interesting to note that the public perception of Vision 2020 is skewed towards the economic end of development. To everyone, Vision 2020 is a symbol of economic excellence. 

However the official Malaysia's Vision 2020 website lists down the nine objectives of the vision. Out of those nine objectives, the word “economy”, in its root and inflected forms, is mentioned in only two of them.In contrast, the word “society” appears in almost every objective – all but the first one. 

I do not mean to stir up a pedantic argument but the point I am trying to make is that we might have missed the true point of Vision 2020 in our favor to physically mimic other developed cities of the world. 

The Malaysian Vision 2020 was not focus solely on economic metrics only but was to build a nation that is fully developed along all the dimensions: economically, politically, socially, spiritually, psychologically and culturally. 

Have we lost sight of what is truly important? What is the significance of the overarching emphasis on the word “society”? We citizens make up the society of the country. Our society is characterised by what we do and how we think and behave. Thus, we can say that the brunt of the focus of this noble vision appears to be on the role we citizens play in the development of a civilised and mature society.

We can only achieved the Vision 2020 by fully develop in terms of national unity and social-cohesion, in terms of our economy, in terms of social justice, political stability, system of government, quality of life, social and spiritual values, national pride and confidence. 

We may need to rely on the government’s initiative and efforts to build state-of-the-art hospitals and new roads, to revamp our education system, and to rope in foreign investors. 

But we do not need anyone’s help to spare a thought and care about other people. We do not need any fancy and expensive “moral development plans” to not tailgate other cars on the road, to properly dispose of our litter, and to offer our KTM seats to pregnant women. 

Let us go back to the basics, everyone. Cliched as this sounds, change must come from within. By merely changing our attitude and mentality we can collectively achieve at least six of the nine objectives of Vision 2020. Economic development alone, as I have already argued above, just does not cut it. When the year 2020 rolls in, can we realistically claim to have achieved Vision 2020 with only two out of nine objectives fulfilled?

Do we want to become a country that is rich but lacking in human empathy? 

Ask yourself.

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