Vision 2020 in Malaysia – An Analysis

Keywords: wawasan malaysia analysis, vision malasia analysis


To achieve a vision during a long time is very difficult because it needs a lot of means and also people’s consent in order to be realized. Malaysia is the best example to learn how can achieve a strategic plan by studying its vision that called (wawasan 2020).

In this article our group wants to give a general view on the big project in Malaysian history i.e. vision 2020 (wawasan 2020). Firstly, we start by having a look to its definition, and then we want to show some fields which these visions focused on achieving its goals, and the challenges which are facing the vision nowadays.


Malaysia is one of the earliest countries in the world due to Dr. Mahathir who conceived of Vision 2020 and encouraged all Malaysians to achieve this goal by sharing in this plan. Vision 2020 has come from a personnel vision -Mahathir’s vision- and it very quickly became a national Vision due to the excellent communicator of this Vision by the prime minister and his government members. The Vision sets new and higher goals for national aspiration, and this vision contribute dramatically in changing the way Malaysians see themselves and the direction of their shared destiny. No longer are we resigned to the fact that we are a developing country that will, at best, remain second rate. Malaysians are urged by the Prime Minister to strive to be the best and not settle for the second best. There is nothing that we are not capable of doing, if we are prepared to work hard and use our ingenuity and resourcefulness.

vision 2020(wawasan 2020):

The following text is from the Malaysia vision web site , it’s explain the vision 2020 presented by Dr Mahathir Mohamed at the Malaysian Business Council.

The purpose of this paper is to present before you some thoughts on the future course of our nation and how we should go about to attain our objective of developing Malaysia into an industrialized country. Also outlined are some measures that should be in place in the shorter term so that the foundations can be laid for the long journey towards that ultimate objective.

Hopefully the Malaysian who is born today and in the years to come will be the last generation of our citizens who will be living in a country that is called ‘developing’. The ultimate objective that we should aim for is a Malaysia that is a fully developed country by the year 2020.

What, you might rightly ask, is ‘a fully developed country’? Do we want to be like any particular country of the present 19 countries that are generally regarded as ‘developed countries’? Do we want to be like the United Kingdom, like Canada, like Holland, like Sweden, like Finland, like Japan? To be sure, each of the 19, out of a world community of more than 160 states, has its strengths. But each also has its fair share of weaknesses. Without being a duplicate of any of them we can still be developed. We should be a developed country in our own mould.

Malaysia should not be developed only in the economic sense. It must be a nation that is fully developed along all the dimensions: economically, politically, socially, spiritually, psychologically and culturally. We must be fully developed in terms of national unity and social cohesion, in terms of our economy, in terms of social justice, political stability, system of government, quality of life, social and spiritual values, national pride and confidence. [01]

Some policies and strategies of vision 2020 ( wawasan 2020 ):

the Malaysia economic policy and strategy:

This new policy can be considered an add-on document to the NEP; it provides a framework towards Dr. Mahathir’s new vision 2020 plan symbolizing “the way forward” policy towards a “developed” nation in 2020. This will require the nation to maintain a 7-plus percent growth rates for the next 25 years. Prime Minister Mahathir believes raising workforce quality and developing expertise in sophisticated industries are decisive elements in the country’s road to economic success and development (Brown 1993: 43). In order to facilitate these growth requirements, the NDP has relaxed many of the FDI restrictions imposed by the NEP such as equity and licensing requirements and procedures.

The purpose of the Industrial Master Plan which was formulated by the United Nations Industrial.[ 02 ]

Malaysia economic policy focuses on some fields to achieve its purposes :

Export Facilitation. Import Substitution. Tariff Structure, Strategic Exposure.

Export Facilitation:

The economic rationale of Malaysia to promote exports provides the nation with three important advantages.

  1. First, it generates foreign-exchange that can reduce the amount of foreign debt needed to fund development.
  2. Second, it contributes to developing a competitive industry infrastructure from learning from investors- a move that brings technological excellence leading to higher value-added exports. By the promotion of specific industries, such as the semi-conductor industry, has speeded technology acquisition and enhanced the nation’s competitive Worldwide positioning.
  3. Finally, FDI provides employment in the industry sector, which to a large extent is attracted from the agricultural sector. [ 02 ]

Tariff Structure:

As a link to the policy of maintaining a stable economy with past budget strategies of controlling inflation, there have been major reductions and abolition of import duties on goods and services. The 1995 budget proposes a reduction of tariffs imposed on over 2,600 items of which a majority is food items (Budget 1995: 22). Also, tariffs on building materials and household appliances have been reduced. These measures will not only control inflation, but also enhance the quality of life and favor the overall climate for investments. However, Ad Valorem taxes are imposed on imported goods and services (refer to Appendix 4) [ 02 ].

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Import Substitution:

Economic development in Malaysia was first built on the basis of Import Substitution, indicated by the large shift of GNP distribution from agricultural sectors to manufacturing sectors. Import substitution has increased in mainly three areas, transport equipment, Industrial chemicals and fertilizers and in Industrial machinery (Onn 1988: 28). However, exports constitute the main source of growth in the manufacturing sector from 1970-1990 (refer to appendix 6). This trend can be explained by economic policy that places great emphasis on improving industrial competitiveness as a vehicle towards vision 2020. [ 02 ]

Strategic Exposure

Strategic exposure represents a crucial component in Strategic Trade Theory. The rationale behind lowering barriers to trade and exposing local industry to foreign competition is to create a more competitive domestic industry (Hamilton 1989: 4). Such a Level Playing Field policy will force local firms to increase their competitiveness to survive.

Strategic exposure represents a direct link to becoming an industrialized nation by 2020 and the realization of economic goals. Incorporating FDI as a strategic measure to enhance technological know-how can reduce domestic learning and experience curves in selected industries. By giving foreign investors considerable tax deductible incentives in areas such as training of local employees, research and development and in promotion of exports Malaysia has been able to increase World wide competitiveness as demonstrated by increasing exports and GDP (Carrol, Errion 1991: 21). Malaysia aims for the year 2000 to have at least 1.6% of GDP spent on R&D and is predicting that at least 40% will come from the private sector[ 02 ]

Higher education’s policy and strategy :


In Malaysia, with the cooperation of the local universities formulate and create action plans for reforming engineering education in preparation for the professional expectations of the future. As a result, the universities are urged to act and play a leadership role in improving the engineering education.

Interaction with local and overseas industries should also be increased. This will facilitate more realistic and relevant joint projects for students and industry professionals. Through this interaction, universities will face a variety of real-world multi-disciplinary problems that are similar to the business operational problems locally and internationally. These problems can be used as test cases for solution approaches. Engineering students could form interdisciplinary collaborative teams to develop effective solutions to such problems. As a result, the desired attributes for the future engineers, for example, the ability to function on multidisciplinary team, the ability to identify and solve engineering problems, the ability to understand the professional and ethical responsibility and the ability to communicate effectively can be achieved. [03].

Infrastructure and Facilities

Universities need to establish consensus on relevancy of a set of a new fundamental for engineering education. This may include information technology, bio-engineering, nano-skill-technologies, skills and understanding necessary for effectively leading multidisciplinary-teams, the challenges of framing and addressing large-scale system-of-systems problems, sustainability, lifecycle management of systems, risk-based asset management, and the need of lifelong learning, globalization, demographic realities and need for diversity [ 03 ].


The pedagogy of engineering education must be changed. According to Felder many students in the United States fail to excel with only the support of traditional method used in teaching engineering. Engineering students prefer active teaching method .Therefore; the traditional teaching engineering model must be changed to a new teaching model in line with the engineers of the 21st century. The future engineering education program should include the use of ICT (Information Communication Technology). This idea suggested by many undergraduate engineering students. The ICT genre involves the use of all tools in the forms of software, on-line program and resources to create new and improved conditions for learning, for example the use of e-learning, email, word processor, and web resources (both static information and dynamic interactive information) [03].

Using ICT in Education

The concept of ICT in education, as seen by the Ministry of Education of Malaysia, includes systems that enable information gathering, management, manipulation, access, and communication in various forms. The Ministry has formulated three main policies for ICT in education.

  1. The first policy is that of ICT for all students, meaning that ICT is used as an enabler to reduce the digital gap between the schools.
  2. The second policy emphasizes the role and function of ICT in education as a teaching and learning tool, as part of a subject, and as a subject by itself. Apart from radio and television as a teaching and learning tool, this policy stresses the use of the computer for accessing information, communication, and as a productivity tool. ICT as part of a subject refers to the use of software in subjects such as “Invention” and “Engineering Drawing.” ICT as a subject refers to the introduction of subjects such as “Information Technology” and “Computerization”.
  3. The third policy emphasizes using ICT to increase productivity, efficiency and effectiveness of the management system. ICT will be extensively used to automate and mechanize work processes such as the processing of official forms, timetable generation, management of information systems, lesson planning, financial management, and the maintenance of inventories. [ 04 ]
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health policy and strategy:

The MOH’s vision for the future and the strategic objectives are based on its corporate values that incorporate professionalism, teamwork and caring.

Strategic Goals

  • Prevent and reduce the burden of disease
  • Enhance the healthcare delivery system
  • Optimize resources
  • Improve research and development
  • Manage crisis and disasters effectively
  • Strengthen the health information management system


  • Improve governance, and adoption of appropriate technology and service
  • Practices to empower individuals, families and communities towards attaining lifelong wellness.
  • Develop skills and competencies to further reduce mortality and morbidity rates in furtherance of strengthening the quality of healthcare delivery.
  • Establish effective business strategies to enhance organizational
  • Performance and the consumption of resources.
  • Increase the use of evidence through research to support all levels of decision making.
  • Elevate the level of preparedness in managing disasters and health-related crises effectively.
  • Upgrade the standards of information and communication technology as well as health informatics to maintain sound health information Management [05].

Biological diversity policy and strategy:


The vision 2020 (wawasan2020) in biological diversity based on the following principles:

  • The conservation ethic, including the inherent right to existence of all living forms, is deeply rooted in the religious and cultural values of all Malaysians
  • Biological diversity is a national heritage and it must be sustainably managed and wisely utilized today and conserved for future generations;
  • Biological resources are natural capital and their conservation is an investment that will yield benefits locally, nationally and globally for the present and future;
  • The benefits from sustainable management of biological diversity will accrue, directly or indirectly, to every sector of society;
  • The sustainable management of biological diversity is the responsibility of all sectors of society;
  • It is the duty of Government to formulate and implement the policy framework for sustainable management and utilization of biological diversity in close cooperation with scientists, the business community and the public;
  • The role of local communities in the conservation, management and utilization of biological diversity must be recognized and their rightful share of benefits should be ensured;
  • Issues in biological diversity transcend national boundaries and Malaysia must continue to exercise a proactive and constructive role in international activities;
  • The interdependence of nations on biological diversity and in the utilization of its components for the well-being of mankind is recognized. International cooperation and collaboration is vital for fair and equitable sharing of biological resources, as well as access to and transfer of relevant technology;
  • Public awareness and education is essential for ensuring the conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable utilization of its components; in the utilization of biological diversity, including the development of biotechnology, the principles and practice of biosafety should be adhered to [06].


  • To optimize economic benefits from sustainable utilization of the components of biological diversity
  • To ensure long-term food security for the nation
  • To maintain and improve environmental stability for proper functioning of ecological systems
  • To ensure preservation of the unique biological heritage of the nation for the benefit of present and future generations;
  • To enhance scientific and technological knowledge, and educational, social, cultural and aesthetic values of biological diversity;

To emphasize biosafety considerations in the development and application of biotechnology;[06]

Challenges of establishing vision 2020(wawasan 2020):

  1. The first of these is the challenges of establishing a united Malaysian nation with a sense of common and shared destiny.
  2. The second is the challenge of creating a psychologically liberated, secure, and developed Malaysian Society with faith and confidence in itself, justifiably proud of what it is, of what it has accomplished, robust enough to face all manner of adversity.
  3. The third challenge we have always faced is that of fostering and developing a mature democratic society, practicing a form of mature consensual, community-oriented Malaysian democracy that can be a model for many developing countries.
  4. The fourth is the challenge of establishing a fully moral and ethical society, whose citizens are strong in religious and spiritual values and imbued with the highest of ethical standards.
  5. The fifth challenge that we have always faced is the challenge of establishing a matured, liberal and tolerant society in which Malaysians of all colors and creeds are free to practice and profess their customs, cultures and religious beliefs and yet feeling that they belong to one nation.
  6. The sixth is the challenge of establishing a scientific and progressive society, a society that is innovative and forward-looking, and one that is not only a consumer of technology but also a contributor to the scientific and technological civilization of the future.
  7. The seventh challenge is the challenge of establishing a fully caring society and a caring culture, a social system in which society will come before self, in which the welfare of the people will revolve not around the state or the individual but around a strong and resilient family system.
  8. The eighth is the challenge of ensuring an economically just society. This is a society in which there is a fair and equitable distribution of the wealth of the nation, in which there is full partnership in economic progress. Such a society cannot be in place so long as there is the identification of race with economic function, and the identification of economic backwardness with race.
  9. The ninth challenge is the challenge of establishing a prosperous society, with an economy that is fully competitive, dynamic, robust and resilient. [ 07 ]
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Is Malaysia on track to 2020? This is the most important question every time the issue of Malaysia 2020 has been raised. And it is important to measure and evaluate the strategies and policies to keep Malaysia on track to 2020; Siddiquee (2006) [08] indicated that the recent reforms represent Malaysia’s attempt to remain relevant and competitive in a rapidly changing local and global environment. It is clear that the changes are largely consistent with NPM (National Public Management) principles and they are not only geared towards enhancing efficiency and institutional capacity of the governmental machinery, they also seek to transform it into a dynamic, market-driven and customer-oriented administration.

It is true that Malaysia is ahead of other developing countries in terms of ICT infrastructure and its usage, however, there is a long way to go before Malaysia can catch up with other regional leaders like Singapore and South Korea. Presently, not only the number and types of services offered through such channels are limited but also the public access to such services is inadequate. On the one hand, the public awareness about such facilities is relatively low; on the other hand, pilot projects being carried out have exposed a variety of challenges Therefore, the reforms, although generally seen as steps in the right direction, have not brought about dramatic improvements in the public sector.

An analysis of the public sector competence of 12 Asian countries from 1999 to 2001/2002 by the Global Competitiveness Report shows that Malaysia’s ranking has dropped from 46 in 1999 to 65 in 2001/2002. Malaysia has fared poorly compared with neighboring Singapore, which has ranked first for three consecutive years. Measured on a 0-7 scale (where 0 means least competent and 7 means the most competent), Malaysia’s scores are 2.24, 2.50 and 2.10 against Singapore’s 4.52, 4.4 and 4.7 during the same period. What is even more surprising is that Malaysia’s 2001/2002 ranking is below that of Thailand (44), Indonesia (48), and the Philippines (58).

The Malaysian experience shows that there is hardly any quick fix to the problems of the public sector and that there is a long way to go before the goals envisioned are realized.

Malaysia has, despite its efforts to develop ICT especially in the Multi Media Super Corridor, receded from place 25 (in 1997) on a relative competitiveness scale of infrastructure development to place 38 (out of 49 countries in 2001).

Malaysia still implement new ways to achieve its goal The government have started implementing several initiatives to facilitate the smooth development of knowledge economy, particularly in the areas of science and technology (S&T), research and development, info structure and financing. Examples of some of these initiatives include the launching of the National IT Agenda (NITA) and the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC). These initiatives is to position itself in the global-map of knowledge-based economies and to undertake measures in ensuring that equitable access is targeted to all segments of Malaysia society. As a whole, k-economy provides the means to maintain sustainable rapid economic growth and competitiveness in the medium and long term. As mentioned earlier, the private sector will continue to become the engine of growth in k-economy with support from the public sector. At the same time, the objective of social and economic equity will still be a critical element in this new stage of economic development but with the added responsibility of narrowing the knowledge gap among various groups, between urban and rural communities and across the regions. Hence, having the national policies and plans in place to drive human resources, private and public sector to achieve k-economy, who is responsible for coordinating and administration of the plans, policies and strategies implemented (Abdullah, Rose & Kumar (2007))[09].


Despite Malaysia have achieved many goals from 1981 till now, there are many difficulties that encounter Malaysia for achieving visions 2020 and there are a lot of problems have to be solved such as the following problems:

  1. The big gap between Malay and Chinese and Indian citizens between each other’s whether in communication, dealing, relationships.
  2. The non-stabilization in the leaderships of Malaysia government since 2000.
  3. Inefficiency to build a new generation to adopt vision 2020 completely.
  4. Weakness of awareness of Malaysian’s society to implement vision 2020.
  5. Focusing on development of the big cities like KL, PENANG and disregard the other villages.


  3. N. M. Nor1, N. Rajab2 and K.M. Ismail3 ,Educating the Engineer of 2020 Malaysian Scenario ,University Teknologi Malaysia . College of Science and Technology, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
  4. Chan, Foong-Mae ,ICT in Malaysian Schools: Policy and Strategies ,Educational Technology Division, Ministry of Education, Malaysia, October 2002 from
  5. Ministry of Health Malaysia Strategic Plan 2006-2010,April 2008 from
  6. Official declaration ,Malaysia’s national policy on biological diversity, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Ministry of Science, Environment and Technology, pp 2&3 , Thursday April 16 1998.
  8. Siddiquee, A., N., (2006) Public management reform in Malaysia International Journal of Public Sector Management 19(4) 339-358.
  9. Abdullah, H., Rose, C., R., and Kumar, N. (2007) Human Resource Development Strategies: The Malaysian Scenario. Journal of Social Science 3(4): 213-222.
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