“Tun M’s nine strategic challenges for Vision 2020 are abject failures”

I RE-READ the nine strategic challenges spelled out by the fourth prime minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad when launching Vision 2020 in 1991 and found to my horror that all nine were abject failures for Malaysia. 

It is precisely because all nine of the strategic challenges of Vision 2020 as articulated by Dr Mahathir in 1991 are abject failures today that Malaysia has regressed from a first-rate world-class nation to a second-rate mediocre country and is in danger of ending up as a third-class divided, failed and kleptocratic state on Malaysia’s centennial in 2057.    

It is also the reason why Malaysia has become a very corrupt country, losing out to Indonesia, China and India over the last few decades. 

Lim Kit Siang

At least we have the opportunity to arrest the national decline and descent and must not throw away this one chance of saving the country. 

The 16th Yang di-Pertuan Agong is right that Malaysia needs political stability to undo the wrongs and failures of the past, but the Perikatan Nasional (PN) comprising PAS and Bersatu MPs in Parliament seem committed to doing the very opposite by creating political upheavals and storms that will further speed Malaysia’s decline and descent. 

What is worse, the person who launched Vision 2020 in 1991 and talked about the nine strategic challenges Malaysia must overcome seems to have abandoned Vision 2020 and the nine strategic challenges. 

This is what he said 32 years ago: 

By the year 2020, Malaysia can be a united nation with a confident Malaysian society, infused with strong moral and ethical values, living in a society that is democratic, liberal and tolerant, caring, economically just and equitable, progressive and prosperous, and in full possession of an economy that is competitive, dynamic, robust and resilient.  

There can be no fully developed Malaysia until we have finally overcome the nine central strategic challenges that have confronted us from the moment of our birth as an independent nation.  

The first of these is the challenge of establishing a united Malaysian nation with a sense of common and shared destiny. This must be a nation at peace with itself, territorially, and ethnically integrated, living in harmony and full and fair partnership, made up of one ‘Bangsa Malaysia’ with political loyalty and dedication to the nation.


Today, in 2023, Malaysia has never been so divided and polarised while the person who launched Vision 2020 is not doing anything to ensure the rise of “Bangsa Malaysia” with political loyalty and dedication to the nation but the very opposite — in the company of people to spread the divisive and toxic politics of race and religion based on lies, falsehood and fake news like DAP promoting Islamophobia. 

The nine strategic challenges of Vision 2020 should be studied again by all Ministers, MPs, and Malaysians in order to comprehend where we have fallen short in creating our country over the past 60 years. — March 22, 2023


Retired DAP supremo and former Iskandar Puteri MP Lim Kit Siang, 82, has a colourful political career spanning 57 years.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.                                             


Main photo credit: Malaysia Design Archive

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