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A summary of the nine goals of Vision 2020 was to establish a united, tolerant, progressive, caring, mature, democratic and economically competitive society with equitable distribution of wealth. - NSTP/AZIAH AZMEE

LETTERS: Finally, we have stepped into the largely anticipated 2020.

Ever since Vision 2020 was introduced in 1991, it was rooted into our inner selves through our education syllabus and also the Wawasan 2020 song, which we always sing on Merdeka Day.

I remember clearly Vision 2020. It was a big deal during my schooling days.

Looking at the pictures shown in our textbooks, we envisioned a future with advanced technological cities filled with modern skyscrapers and flying cars.

I am filled with excitement and can’t wait for those pictures to become a reality. Ironically, these pictures that once gave hope to young Malaysians like me are now used as jokes on the Internet.

Of course, we understand that those pictures are unrealistic as we grow older. Nevertheless, have we achieved the expectations that we set 30 years ago?

A summary of the nine goals of Vision 2020 was to establish a united, tolerant, progressive, caring, mature, democratic and economically competitive society with equitable distribution of wealth.

Malaysia is now categorised as a higher middle-income country with reduced inequality.

The historic 2018 general election witnessed the change in government for the first time in Malaysian history, and it seems that we are indeed progressing well in achieving the goals of Vision 2020.

However, reports from reputable institutions suggest otherwise.

“The State of Households 2018: Different Realities” report by Khazanah Research Institute (KRI) highlighted the geographical income inequality between states.

KRI also stressed the issue of youth underemployment in the report “The School-to-Work Transition of Young Malaysians”.

Most recently, World Bank’s “Malaysia Economic Monitor December 2019: Making Ends Meet” reported that despite the low inflation, many Malaysians struggle to cope with the increasing cost of living.

In addition, race and religion issues are taking centre stage in our daily lives, making headlines in most news media.

It seems that we are becoming more divided over time instead of achieving a united and caring society as envisioned.

Vision 2020 seems to be a distance away despite being the year 2020.

Unsurprisingly, most of the blame goes to politicians for our less-than-desirable situation and, in my opinion, rightfully so.

They have the power and authority to steer the direction of our country and they are definitely accountable if we are headed into the undesired direction.

Therefore, my wish for 2020 is that we do not let politicians dictate every aspect of our lives.

The bottom-up approach can be just as impactful as the top-down approach. We may not be in the position to change the direction of the country, but we can influence our family, friends and communities.

As an example, let’s not forget that Microsoft started in a small garage. For young adults like me who were once inspired by Vision 2020, we may not have been able to do much previously when we were still children but now is the time for us to step out and make a difference.

The year 2020 may not turn out as anticipated, but we should not be pessimistic. At the very least, Vision 2020 once gave us hope of the Malaysia we desire.

Let’s rekindle that hope inside us and work together towards the future we desire.

LIEW YIT WEY

Shah Alam, Selangor

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