The implementation of such a great idea was and is still thought to be impossible by many Malaysians. The skepticism of many was understandable, but, as the saying goes, “Rome was not built in one day”. The initial efforts needed to bring the Wawasan 2020 vision to life had already been started since the early nineties. Many if the challenges set by Tun Dr. Mahathir have seen light in various forms, starting with some of the main challenges, being “Establishing a united Malaysian nation made up of one Bangsa Malaysia” and “Establishing a matured liberal and tolerant society”
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One Malaysia (1Malaysia)
This particular goal is being implemented through the 1Malaysia programme, which is mostly being used as a catalyst for the Wawasan 2020 idea. The 1Malaysia programme was designed by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak on 16 September 2010, calling for the cabinet, governmental agencies, and civil servants to more strongly emphasize on ethnic harmony, national unity, and efficient governance. An official logo and slogan has been introduced along with the commencement of 1Malaysia concept. The logo is the symbol of ‘1’ which includes the national flag and the word Malaysia. The Malaysian government has spent RM 38 million to promote the 1Malaysia concept in 2010 (Joseph Sipalan, April 2011).
The 1Malaysia Logo
Moreover, the slogans for the 1Malaysia concept have been changing each year. The slogan for the beginning of the promotion campaign for the program, in 2009, was:
” Rakyat Didahulukan, Pencapaian Diutamakan (People First, Performance Now)”
In 2010, it had been changed to:
“Menjana Transformasi (Generating Transformation)”
In 2011, the slogan was:
“Transformasi Berjaya, Rakyat Sejahtera (Transformation Successful, People Prosperous)”
For 2012, the slogan is:
“Janji Ditepati (Promises Fulfilled)”
Many of the other challenges stated by Dr. Mahathir in his Wawasan 2020 concept have been implemented through the 1Malaysia initiative. For example, the 1Clinic programme was implemented under the 1Malaysia initiative and goes in line with one of the challenges set by Dr. Mahathir, being, “Establishing a fully caring society”. 1Malaysia Clinics have been launched in several areas across Malaysia and provide basic medical services for illnesses and injuries such as fever, cough, colds, wounds and cuts, diabetes, and hypertension. Malaysia citizens are charged RM1 for treatment and medication. Non-citizens are charged RM15.
There currently are 119 1Malaysia Clinics in Malaysia so far, and the Malaysian Ministry of Health is planning to increase this number to 175 by the end of 2012. (Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, The Star, September 2012)
One of the important points in the Wawasan 2020 project is the 7% per annum growth over the 30-year period. If the targeted growth is reached within the planned timeframe, the Malaysian GDP or gross domestic product would increase from RM115 billion in 1990 to RM920 billion by 2020 (“The Way Forward”, Prime Minister’s Office, November 2008), in increase nearly by eight. Alongside, the population is estimated to have a slow increase to around 32 Million at an average of 1.9 percent per annum during the period. This wished-for increase in output and the slower expected growth of the population will result in the per capita income steadily rising from RM 6,180 to RM 26,100 by 2020- ranking Malaysia among one of the high income nations.
But Malaysia still faces many challenges.
In an interview with The star on the 11th August 2008, Dr Mahathir said:
“However, slower economic growth may result in the country not being able to achieve the degree of the vision that was planned. We are not growing like before. We grew at eight percent before and now it is less than seven percentâ€¦if the world economy is not doing well, Malaysia will not do well. “
Malaysia being a trade-dependent nation, this is particularly true, but Dr. Mahathir also said that Malaysia was on the right track towards achieving his vision.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has praised Malaysia for its strategic plan to turn the country into a high-income nation status by 2020, noting that the government is taking the right approach through its Economic Transformation Programme and other reforms (Kamarul Yunus, November 2012)
In 2011, the Malaysian economy grew by 5.1%, but the estimated growth for 2012 is expected to revolve around 4.5%-5%, the growth being weight down by external factors, according the 2012-2013 economic report. Supporting the resilient domestic economy would be the public and private sectors in the midst of the more conducive financial market conditions, stable prices and a favourable labour market, which may point towards better results.
The services sector, the major driver of GDP growth for Malaysia in 2012, is expected to record 5.5% growth. The intermediate services sector – communication and real estate and business services – are expected to grow at a stronger pace of 9.3% and 6.6%. However, finance and insurance and transport are expected to expand slower at 4.2% and 5.2%. Wholesale and retail trade is expected to expand at a moderate pace of 5.7%. This segment accounts of 14.5% of GDP. Significant growth is also expected in construction, manufacturing and exports (The Star-September 28)
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Malaysian Incorporated concept.
The Malaysia Incorporated concept was first announced by the Prime Minister in 1983 and it represents a new way of approaching the task of national development. Both the public and private sectors adopt the idea that the nation is a corporate or business entity, jointly owned by both sectors and working together in pursuit of a common mission of the nation. To operationalise this concept, several mechanisms were established (epu.gov.my):
Deregulation of cumbersome bureaucratic rules and regulations;
Improving the delivery system;
Institutionalizing the consultative machinery between the private and public sectors;
Establishing smart partnership programmes in nation building efforts between the private and public sectors; and
ICT, Scientific and Technological Progress
4.1 MSC Malaysia
MSC Malaysia, formerly known as the Multimedia Super Corridor is a program was officially inaugurated by the 4th Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on 12 February 1996. The founding of the MSC initiative was crucial to accelerate the objectives of Wawasan 2020 and to transform Malaysia into a modern state by the year 2020, with the adoption of a knowledge-based society framework (Jeong, 2007).
The construction of the building began in 1992. It was completed in 1995 and opened to the public the following year.
MSC flagship applications were launched to boost the MSC Malaysia initiatives and to create a multimedia hub for innovative producers and users of multimedia technology. Both local and foreign companies collaborated with various government agencies, departments and ministries to enhance the socio-economic development of Malaysia for the new millennium and drive Malaysia towards the information and knowledge age. The vision and mission of the Multimedia Super Corridor as expressed by Dr Mahathir Mohammad, the Prime Minister of Malaysia at the time (1981-2003), is basically expressed below:
“MSC is paramount to leapfrog (Malaysia) into the 21st century and to achieve Malaysia’s Vision 2020, the MSC was created to endeavour the best environment to harness the full potential of the multimedia without any artificial limits. MSC is a global test bed (hub), where the limits of the possible can be explored, and new ways of living, working, and playing in the new area of the Information Age.” (Ibrahim Ariff & Goh Chen Chuan, 2000; Jeong, 2007)
The project also aims to attract companies with temporary tax breaks and facilities such as high-speed Internet access and proximity to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
MSC Malaysia currently covers an area of approximately 15 km (9.3 mi) Ã- 50 km (31 mi) (that is, 750 km2 (290 sq mi)) stretching from the Petronas Twin Towers to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, and including the towns of Putrajaya and Cyberjaya.
4.2 Malaysian National Space Agency
Taking a step further towards the realization of the goals set by the Wawasan 2020 project, the Malaysian National Space Agency ( Agensi Angkasa Negara, ANGKASA) was established in 2002 and its charter includes aims to upgrade, stimulate and foster the country’s space programme through integrated and coordinated efforts by developing and applying space technologies.
The agency successfully sent a Malaysian, Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, in space, to the International Space Station on board of Soyuz TMA-11, on October 10, 2007. The program was named after the Malay word for astronaut, Angkasawan. The program was officially announced by the former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad, as a joint programme with the Russian Federation. The main objectives of the program were also to uplift the national image and to instill in the younger generation greater interest in Math and Science. The agency also successfully sent several Malaysian-made satellites in orbit.
Cyberjaya is a town with a science park as the centre, which forms a key part of the Multimedia Super Corridor in Malaysia. It is located in the district of Sepang, Selangor and is situated about 50 km south of Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. This town aspires to be known as the Silicon Valley of Malaysia. The concept of an information technology based city was created during the MSC project in 1995. Multimedia Development Corporation (then known as MDC), the agency overseeing the implementation of the MSC was located in Cyberjaya to oversee the creation. The central theme for the development of Cyberjaya is providing a quantum jump in standards and technology in Malaysia, summarized as follows:
a leading edge multimedia center that will attract world-class multimedia/IT companies;
sophisticated and state-of-the-art integrated infrastructure and IT system; and
sophisticated and efficient transportation systems with an emphasis on public transport