Is Najib replacing or adding to Vision 2020?

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PETALING JAYA: Two political analysts have provided differing opinions of how Prime Minister Najib Razak’s National Transformation 2050 (TN50) relates to former premier Mahathir Mohamad’s Vision 2020.

Awang Azman Pawi of Universiti Malaya thinks that the idea for TN50 came about because the government knew it could not meet Vision 2020’s objectives.

He said the economic downturn as well as issues of governance and economic leakages were the reasons behind this failure.

“The economy and political instability provides a clear indication that the vision to become a developed nation by 2020 will not be realised,” he said.

“TN50 has the potential to erase Tun M’s Vision 2020 legacy, but at the same time it can also create the perception that there is an attempt to bury Vision 2020 because of the political differences between Tun M and Najib.”

However, Jeniri Amir of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak is of the opinion that TN50, as opposed to being a replacement for Vision 2020, is a supplementary plan that goes beyond Mahathir’s range of view.

He said TN50 could not be achieved without first achieving Vision 2020 and that since 2020 was four years away, a new plan needed to be charted.

Jeniri also said that commitment from future prime ministers was important in achieving the long-term objectives of any plan.

“Whoever takes over after Najib will have to proceed with that vision,” he said. “We don’t expect new leaders to come up with new visions. If you keep doing that, you’re not going to achieve anything.

“There must be continuity and that applies as well to Tun M’s Vision 2020. Just because Mahathir is not there anymore, it doesn’t mean you forget about his vision.”

He said the case was similar with the New Economic Policy of the late Abdul Razak Hussein.

“Leaders after Tun Razak had to pay attention to that policy,” he said.

Awang Azman, however, believes that even if Umno continues to rule, it is unlikely that TN50 would stand the test of time or would be intact under future prime ministers, especially if the ruling party continues practising the style of politics it is associated with.

Najib announced TN50 during his Budget 2017 speech in Parliament on Oct 21. He called it a new 30-year transformation plan to set a “new vision” for the nation.

It has received criticism from several parties, including Mahathir, who said he doubted that Najib could carry it through.

Mahathir’s son, former Kedah MB Mukhriz Mahathir, alleged that TN50 was an attempt to hide Najib’s failure to realise Vision 2020.