The post-2020 Malaysia roadmap must be a return to basics, says Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam .
Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam

BY most accounts, the country will attain Vision 2020 of becoming a developed nation in four years’ time.

But what happens after that?

This is the big task ahead for our policymakers, scholars, thinkers and civil societies. Their challenge is to formulate a new vision that will set the stage for Malaysia post-2020.

At the last Umno annual caucus, Prime Minister and Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak gave an early notice to Malaysians; public discourse on the post-2020 direction of Malaysia must begin soon after we usher in 2016.

Any new vision must strive to project a New Malaysia that stresses on sustainable economic development and equitable growth, while emphasising quality of growth, education, home ownership, employment and quality of life in a multiracial, multireligious and multicultural Malaysia.

In other words, the New Malaysia has to be about economics — economics of the people, economics of communities and economics of the nation.

ASLI director and chairman of its Centre for Public Policy Studies Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam feels that the post-2020 Malaysia roadmap must be a return to basics — stick to the tenets of Rukunegara and back to English as a medium of instruction in schools.

Equallly important are our core values, others say.

First things first, we have to minimise corruption, and the norms and values of integrity must be inculcated from a very young age.

Najib has outlined how the new vision should be mapped out.

The focus, going forward, must be anchored on innovation and creativity, he said.

“We are looking at a very challenging world with uncertainties.”

One possible long-term deliverable is to vault Malaysia into among the top 10 most competitive economies in the world by 2030.

Malaysia advanced two spots to 18th out of 144 economies in the Global Competitiveness Report 2015-2016, unveiled by the World Economic Forum this year.

The country consolidated its position among the world’s 20 most competitive economies, its highest ranking since 2005, and also remains the highest ranked among developing Asian nations.

With enhanced competitiveness, Malaysia continues to be ahead of economies like Belgium, Luxembourg, Australia, France, Austria, Ireland, Saudi Arabia and South Korea.

Top of the list is Switzerland, followed by Singapore, the United States, Germany, the Netherlands, Japan, Hong Kong, Finland, Sweden, Britain, Norway and Denmark.

It is a tall order but not impossible for Malaysia to get into the top 10 club by 2030.

We just have to raise the bar.

The writer is NSTP group managing editor

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