Malaysia; an introduction to the rising star of Southeast Asia
Malaysia is the rising star of Southeast Asia. In its short 57 years as a country, Malaysia has quickly grown from its former British colonial based structure. No longer regarded as a developing third world country, Malaysia has surpassed its regional developing country neighbors Indonesia, Thailand, Brunei, and expeditiously risen to the status of emerging country (Central Intelligence Agency, 2013). However, Malaysia, its government and people, will not settle for emerging country status. The Government of Malaysia (GOM) has defined a strategy to turn Malaysia into a modern fully developed country by 2020 (Central Intelligence Agency, 2013).
Using the Blue Ocean Strategy business concept of creating uncontested market space, the GOM created the Vision 2020 strategy. To fully appreciate Malaysia, one must understand the Vision 2020 strategy. Specifically, how the unique demographics of the country affect the strategy, how the government is transforming, and how the economy is morphing with regards to public and private sectors. Through understanding Vision 2020, a holistic comprehension of the complex country of Malaysia is developed.
By the year 2020, Malaysia can be a united nation, with a confident Malaysian society, infused by 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. (Mohamad, 1991, p. 1)
Malaysia is focused on developing along six dimensions: economic, political, social, spiritual, psychological, and cultural. The Vision 2020 strategy aims to cultivate these dimensions by resolving nine key strategic challenges. According to Mohamad (1991) the first challenge is creating a cohesive Malaysian nation with a sense of universal future. The second challenge is creating a psychologically liberated, secure society. The third challenge is to foster a mature democratic society that serves as a model for developing countries. The fourth challenge is establishing a moral and ethical society with high spiritual and ethical values. The fifth challenge is creating a mature, tolerant society where people can be free to practice their customs, culture, and religious beliefs yet maintain a belonging to one nation. The sixth challenge is establishing a scientific, progressive, and innovative society. The seventh challenge is creating a fully caring society and culture, where the welfare of people will revolve around a resilient family system and not the state. The eighth challenge is ensuring an economically fair civilization. The ninth and final challenge is creating a prosperous society with a fully competitive and robust economy (Mohamad, 1991). Since 1991 the GOM has worked diligently to resolve all nine challenges by implementing strategies in Vision 2020 (Mohamad, 1991).