Internalise transformation to ensure its success
Emeritus Professor Tan Sri Dato' Dzulkifli Abdul Razak
Opinion - New Straits Times
November 16, 2021
Tan Sri Dr Noor Azlan Ghazali, executive director of the Economic Action Council was quoted as saying "...pursuing a technological future has long been on the agenda as a way to address these (technological) shortcomings, but the policies needed to achieve it have never been properly implemented".
It has resulted "in many discrepancies in connectivity, education and wealth", beginning with the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) in 1995. One of the first movers in the world then.
Now it is about "digitalisation to reach everywhere in Malaysia", he noted during a webinar titled "Unlocking Malaysia's Digital Economy Growth" recently.
Noor Azlan said the failure to achieve goals was emblematic of the systemic failures in Malaysia, a country that is able to plan but unable to execute, such as Vision 2020.
Fast forward to today and crises abound — not least the pandemic. What about the surging mental health cases in the community, knowing full well that it could be a potential pandemic if we fail to execute the many plans and blueprints devised by government agencies as per the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP).
The 12MP has identified areas that need improving and has proposed solutions, but can we commit and deliver?
To quote the prime minister: "The success in the implementation and achievement of the 12MP's objectives and goals is highly dependent on the commitment of each and every one of us, especially our youth, based on the spirit of Keluarga Malaysia."
More so, bearing in mind that the 12MP is predicated on a new transformative approach based on three themes, and 14 game-changers.
While the new approach is important to provide a strong foundation for Malaysia's future, being "transformative" and "game-changers" are no easy tasks to execute, and failure to do so, especially on the three themes of resetting the economy, strengthening security, wellbeing and inclusivity, and advancing sustainability on the world stage, cannot be ruled out.
Although it is admitted that that in today's unpredictable world, there is a need to execute the 12MP by regularly reviewing it with flexibility to respond, it is perhaps in the latter where the "barriers" are, since ultimately the success of the 12MP is dependent on the commitment of every one of us.
That means everyone will have to internalise the desired transformative and game-changes as the catalyst to restore economic growth, address socioeconomic challenges, balance regional development and enhance the nation's competitiveness to be more resilient and sustainable.
Only then, it can be said to be in line with the government's aspiration that no one is left behind in rebuilding a resilient economy for "A Prosperous, Inclusive, Sustainable Malaysia".
Although the 12MP is said to reflect the government's commitment to stay ahead of the curve and to plan our response in facing any situation, it can only happen if the nation embraces the principle of togetherness.
Also known as "Keluarga Malaysia", it must go beyond just the socio-technological-economic imperatives to a more humanistic one, with a soul intact!
That the latter is not at all articulated, and will most likely put the 12MP into a postion of possible failure to execute when the soul as the internal-driving life force is starkly missing or blurred.
Indeed, it is a game-changer on its own right that could spur the courage to shift, not just mindsets, but also "heartsets", as amply demonstrated by the Covid-19 crisis, which ultimately must be understood as a crisis of humanity bringing to life the true meaning of being human with the soul (endowed with human values) well rooted before anything else.
That is, lives before livelihoods, people and planet before profits, as framed by the demands made at the COP26 climate change conference that ended last week.
The writer, an NST columnist for more than 20 years, is International Islamic University Malaysia rector