Submitted by The Bawang Report! A high ranking government officer said that the nation’s dream of achieving Vision 2020 is expected to be delayed for at least twenty years. The officer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, was quick to add that this should come as no surprise to all. “As with most government projects, there will be delays and exponential increase in the cost. Unless this is your first day in Malaysia, you should have known your government better.” The news caused various reactions from the Malaysian public. An economist said, “Economically speaking, in order to achieve Vision 2020, we need a growth rate of 7% to 8% per annum. What do you think we are? China?? I wonder who created the projected annual growth rate? Must be some capitalist utopians. I could go on and on about how to fix the economy but I shall be economical with my words. That’s all.” To be fair, when Vision 2020 was announced in 1991 during the Sixth Malaysian Plan, no one foresaw the 1997 Asian financial crisis and the 2007-2008 global financial crisis. Still, the policymakers must be dreaming that rapid growth under capitalism will be perpetually exponential and did not take into account the possibility of market volatility and meltdown. Economic growth is not the only agenda of Vision 2020, however. The grand plan listed nine challenges to be overcome by the nation in order to “achieve a self-sufficient industrialized nation by the year 2020”. The nine challenges are as follow: Challenge 1: Establishing a united Malaysian nation made up of one Bangsa Malaysia (Malaysian Race). Challenge 2: Creating a psychologically liberated, secure and developed Malaysian society. Challenge 3: Fostering and developing a mature democratic society. Challenge 4: Establishing a fully moral and ethical society. Challenge 5: Establishing a matured liberal and tolerant society. Challenge 6: Establishing a scientific and progressive society. Challenge 7: Establishing a fully caring society. Challenge 8: Ensuring an economically just society, in which there is a fair and equitable distribution of the wealth of the nation. Challenge 9: Establishing a prosperous society with an economy that is fully competitive, dynamic, robust and resilient. It looks like a good plan, but that’s precisely the problem. It “looks” nice, but the implementation is the other way around. According to Datuk Dr Ang Mo Sai from Universiti Kebangsaan Melayu Raya, “Look at the first challenge. Our politics are taking an increasingly racial and religious tone. Our education system is divided. MRSM, SBP, UiTM and UIA for the Malays, vernacular schools and UTAR for the Chinese and Indians, international schools and private colleges for the rich, and national schools (SMK) and limited space in local universities for the rest of us who couldn’t make into the first three categories. Some Malays are insecure, overprotective and paranoid. Some Chinese want to be treated as equal Malaysians but don’t want to learn and speak Malay. Bangsa Malaysia? Good luck with that.” The strong worded statement from the professor is backed up by a colleague in the University of Malaysia. “Look at the second and fifth challenges. Both contains the word “liberal”. If Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad were to announce Vision 2020 right now, right-wing conservatives would have went hysterical and call him “sesat”, “liberal”, and perhaps even “un-Islamic”. Speaking of which, I wonder why Vision 2020 did not include any Islamic stuff like hudud or Shariah index. Maybe this is a secular nation after all. By the way, it’s not only the political and social fronts, but even in the economic frontier, we are not liberal. So many monopolies, protected players, quotas, and biased regulations. I don’t think we are going to change that in five or perhaps twenty years.” Ordinary Malaysians too joined the debate through social media. A Twitter user by the name of @OhMakEngkau wrote, “If Vision 2020 is delayed by 20 years, does this mean it’s no longer Vision 2020?? My whole life is a lie.” @TakBacaTapiNakKutuk tweeted, “I cannot believe people are taking this report seriously. I knew Vision 2020 was just a political gimmick since 1991. #Lampi #24yearsahead” On Facebook, Sempoi a/l Kumarmoorthy’s status has been shared over 2,000 times. He wrote, “Apa punya Vision 2020! Siapa mau kisah. Indians beaten to death, nobody cares. India takda rumah, takda kerja, takda duit, orang takda bising. Itu MIC gaduh or this abstract Vision 2020, semua bising. Poorah!!” Not all Malaysians are sceptical about Vision 2020. A local Sabahan, Ramly Brader, wrote a lengthy note explaining his sympathy with Vision 2020. “I still believe in it, but please remember Sabahans. We are your fixed deposit and yet we are the poorest state. You talk about grand education plan, but our schools lack basic facilities and funds. One in three persons that I met on the street are illegal immigrants. Dear @NajibRazak, I hope you will fix this. Bumiputeras have special rights too.” Muhammad Ali Bin Muhammad Tyson posted, “Be grateful, y’all Malaysians. At least you have Vision 2020, Vision 2040, or whatever it is. If certain folks were to rule this country, Vision apa pun tak ada. Just moral policing, ban this ban that, and arrest those not praying.” Vision 2020 is a Malaysian ideal introduced by the former Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir in 1991. The vision calls for the nation to achieve a self-sufficient industrialized nation by the year 2020, encompasses all aspects of life, from economic prosperity, social well-being, educational worldclass, political stability, as well as psychological balance. It has since been reduced to rhetorics until it’s just five years away and the nation realized that we couldn’t possibly achieve it, yet.
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