A stroke of astute leadership
PRIME Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak’s announcement of TN50 (national transformation plan 2050) as the nation’s new agenda, while tabling Budget 2017 a fortnight ago, is an astute move in the direction the nation should pursue.
It revealed the leadership’s ability to accurately assess the nation’s challenges from a broad perspective while integrating it with the people’s needs and turning it into what can be a win-win situation for all. TN50 supersedes Wawasan 2020 or Vision 2020, introduced by the government of the day in 1991.
That “vision” envisaged Malaysia becoming a self-sufficient industrialised nation by the year 2020. It assumed, among others, achieving an ambitious level of economic prosperity, social well-being, world-class education and political stability.
Such a vision “prescribed” for Malaysia might have fitted the nation’s political ethos and culture of the 1980s and ’90s.
But, with a growing population of Millennials (also known as Generation Y), the under 30-year-olds largely with higher educational attainment and greater aspiration for economic pursuit, social interaction and political participation, it would miss the point to exclusively focus on a shortcut towards a highly developed economy and advanced technological infrastructure.
The children and youth of today, with exposure as never before to a deluge of information technology, want to explore, experiment, make up their own minds and pursue what is best for themselves.
And, remember, they are the workingage population of tomorrow, the backbone of our nation.
They want to be an active part – not merely passive recipients – of the process of change and development. They want their fundamental rights met and equality of access to amenities, benefits and opportunities.
They want the future leaders in every facet of their lives to emerge from within their own ranks.
In a way, they are challenging the status quo in all spheres of life.
Parental guidance, inculcation of values, education and knowledge dissemination, and work and life-related issues must evolve promptly and effectively in line with those demands.
In addition to the imperatives of the changing demographics, the slower growing economy – derailed in part by the global economic slowdown and falling demand and commodity prices, exacerbated by heightened social and political concerns, need to be addressed and redressed in a mature, efficient and inclusive manner.
And, all that requires time and space, which is exactly what TN50 seeks to do – building a plan from its foundations, a participatory approach to development, involving the grassroots in society especially the “Gen Y”, with a stronger focus than hitherto on social cohesion and national unity.
No superstructure can be envisioned, least of all “ordered” to be erected on a top-down timeframe, without a solid and composite underlying basis to cope with the stresses and strains it will have to bear in the medium-to-long term.
Clearly, the Youth and Sports Ministry charged with engaging in a preliminary consultative process will do well to focus on the young across, and interact with, all social, economic and political sectors, communities and geographic locations to obtain the necessary feedback for policy formulation and programme implementation to specifically better people’s lives and livelihoods – which, in fact, is the emphasis of Budget 2017.
Carefully managed and monitored, TN50 together with the right resource allocation and utilisation, indeed, has the potential to truly respond to and benefit all sectors of the population – a “People First” exercise, while progressively moving the country on the path towards achieving realistic developed nation status.
Rueben Dudley, Petaling Jaya