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TN 50 - My Input - What say you

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When we were young, the most popular question posed to people of my generation, irrespective of race, color, religion or ancestry was, what is your ambition? We were oblivious to politics then.

When the prime minister (PM) spoke about Transformasi Nasional 50 (TN50), a new ‘vision’ for the nation, it brought back memories of what we wanted to be when we grow older. Some of us achieved our dreams, some had to change and some failed.

It is a jolly good thing to happen when we are at the last leg of Vision 2020 and focusing on our youths as the core to this new vision.

For that matter, it is our Youth and Sports Minister, En Khairy Jamaluddin who conceived TN50 and we can say it is his ‘baby’.

The PM said “…we are responsible citizens and forefathers, to leave behind the best and the greatest legacy to be inherited by future generations. Let the old legacy pass”. TN50 will seek to transform the country’s economy, citizen well-being, environment, technology, social interaction, governance and public administration.

He does not want the initiative to be politicised. “Our government today is a government which is willing to listen and uses the bottom-up approach. I believe our development must be balanced and development must be on the basis that no Malaysians will be left behind” he added. There should be a more just and equitable society.

The general goal for TN50 is for Malaysia to become a top 20 country in the world by the year 2050.

The responsible ministry said one of the key activities will be the discussion and networking groups. Other groups are also welcome to participate and share their thoughts. It will also be working with other government agencies, corporate bodies and NGOs.

While the various parties are working on the TN50, as a senior citizen, I feel compelled to lay down a few pointers as my personal input.

1. Leave behind the best and the greatest legacy.

It is good to leave behind the best and the greatest legacy in the form of TN50 to be inherited by future generations but, it must also be desired not to let the old legacy to just pass by.

2. Let the old legacy pass.

There is a popular adage that goes something like this, ‘Forget the past, don’t worry about the future, live in the present’. But, usually those who choose to simply forget the past miss out on its fullest potential. There are valuable lessons to be learned from it - the strengths and weaknesses. Also, ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’

It is not so simple as to just let the old legacy pass. It is a heritage passed on by our predecessors and we should where possible jealously guard it.

3. TN50 will seek to transform the country’s economy, citizen well-being, environment, technology, social interaction, governance and public administration.

Compare it with Vision 2020 that calls for the nation to achieve a self-sufficient industrialized nation, encompassing all aspects of life, from economic prosperity, social well-being, educational worldclass, political stability, as well as psychological balance.

As I see it there is not much difference where TN50 emphasises environment and technology. Therefore, we should try to fulfil or complete what was envisioned in Vision 2020.

4. Finish what we started.

There were scant mention of Vision 2020 and how the ‘Way Forward’ paper will be fulfilled. Unfinished jobs/projects can be swept under the carpet but rarely would they pick themselves up and quietly leave by the back door. They never do. It is an unwelcome mark on one’s soul, mind, or spirit. Perhaps, convincing us that we just can’t stick with anything and would naturally produce negative vibes.

The chorus of the song “Finish What We Started” by Diamond Rio goes like this:

“And step by step and mile by mile… Taking each turn together… Following the signs that point to forever… And side by side… True and tenderhearted… We'll finish what we started”

We should together finish and touch the tape in 2020 and raise our hands in jubilation.

5. Respect for elders.

This has to do with how much the elders can help the youths working on this new vision and offer valuable lessons. It is also a sign of compassion and mannerism, traits that many cultures value.

“O’ you who have true faith! Do not let men make fun of other men – perhaps they may be better than the other (group of men)…” (Quran: Al-Hujurat 49:11)

6. Era of “the government knows best” is over.

It was reported that the TN50 town hall session is the clearest indication yet of the new paradigm that the era of “the government knows best” is over.

It was on April 4th in 2009, that the PM announced “The day and age where government knows all and knows best is so long over”. We do know in between the two dates, there were many instances where government still knows best. Be that as it may, I do hope that it will be a reality that actually exists henceforth.

7. It must be on the basis that no Malaysians will be left behind.

This is noble. But as in most things that we saw happening, it is easier said than done. As an example, the KVMRT project was for the well being of the people but quite a number have to suffer with the line or track passing virtually over the roof of their houses without any compensation.

8. The PM does not want the initiative to be politicised.

I fully agree but groups from the other side have to be included to contribute their two sen worth. Similarly, the present government should not take sole credit when the initiative is implemented and proven successful in future.

Let us make this a truly all-inclusive Malaysian effort for our future generation. We are the “legal guardian for future generations” and whatever decisions we make today will impact them.

Let us all be statesmen that think of not only for the next generation but for the well-being of future generations.

To achieve this, the government has to provide the leadership.

To be more meaningful, I would suggest for us to produce a longer term or more of a perpetual Vision to consciously guide us. More like a vision statement for the country along with mission statements. The successive 30-year visions can be included in the objectives.

What say you…