Is there a replacement for Vision 2020 and Bangsa Malaysia, which had inspired and united Malaysians for over a decade, to inspire and unite Malaysians for the next three decades to world-class standards and achievements?

Is there a replacement for Vision 2020 and a Bangsa Malaysa, which had inspired and united Malaysians for over a decade, to inspire and unite Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or region, for the next three decades to world-class standards and achievements?

It is sad and tragic that Vision 2020 and Bangsa Malaysia have failed, but it is sadder and more tragic that the creator of Vision 2020 and the concept of Bangsa Malaysia has repudiated them, relapsing to very racist rhetorics which could only end up in Malaysia becoming a divided, failed, and kleptocratic state in the future.

In 1991, when propounding the Vision 2020 and Bangsa Malaysia concepts, the then Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad said: “Hopefully the Malaysian who is today and the years to come will be the last generation of our citizens who will be living in a country that is called ‘developing’. The ultimate objective that we should aim for is a Malaysia that is a fully developed country by the year 2020.”

We are three years past 2020, and we still remain a ‘developing’ country with no clear plans to become a ‘developed’ nation.

In 1990, there were 19 countries generally regarded as ‘developed countries’. Now this number of developed countries have more doubled but Malaysia is not one of them.

In 1990, Malaysia per capita GDP was over seven times that of China, but three decades later, Malaysia has lost out to China.

We have also lost out in the pace of development of our per capita GDP in the last three decades as compared to India and Indonesia. Over the last three decades, Indonesia’s per capita GDP has grown by six times, India by nearly seven times, and China by eleven times. Malaysia’s per capita GDP has only grown by five times in the last three decades.

The 16th Yang di Pertuan Agong was right when he declared open the 15th Parliament in February 2023 and said that Malaysia needed political stability, but it is a political stability to end the national decline and for a reset and return to the original nation-building principles the nation’s founding fathers (led by the first three Prime Ministers who were also UMNO Presidents) and entrenched in the Constitution and Rukun Negara — constitutional monarchy, parliamentary democracy, separation of powers, rule of law, an independent judiciary, Islam as the official religion of the country and freedom of religion for all faiths, good governance, public integrity with minimum corruption, a clean and honest government, meritocracy, respect for human rights, an end to the various injustices and inequalities in the country, a world-class economic, educational, health and social system, and national unity, understanding, tolerance, and harmony from our multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-religious, and multi-cultural diversity.

The nine strategic objectives of Vision 2020 failed because Malaysia deviated from the original nation-building principles for a plural Malaysia which was agreed by the nation’s founding fathers, the first fruit of Malaysia’s “unity in diversity”.

Michelle Yeoh’s winning of an Oscar and the selection of Amanda Nell Eu’s film, “Tiger Stripes” for the 62nd Semaine de la Critique Cannes 2023 are evidence that Malaysians are capable of world-class standards and achievements.

Let us project the Malaysian Dream to the world and be a model state to the world of inter-ethnic, inter-religious, inter-cultural and inter-civilisational understanding, tolerance, and harmony!

What is needed is a vision for the future to replace Vision 2020 to inspire and unite Malaysians for the next few decades.


(Media Statement by DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang in Penang on Friday, 21st April 2023)

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