Malaysia unlikely to become developed nation by 2020, says Mahathir

KUALA LUMPUR (The Star/Asia News Network) - Former Malaysian prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said on Thursday Malaysia is unlikely to become a developed nation by 2020 - a target he introduced in 1991 while in office.

"By 2020, I think we will have the per capita income, but I don't think that we will have a developed nation," said Dr Mahathir at the World Bloggers and Social Media Summit in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.

"I made the mistake in 1991 when I launched Vision 2020, where I merely called for Malaysia to become a developed nation by 2020, and I didn't explain what a developed nation is," he said to a crowded hall at Berjaya Times Square Hotel.

Dr Mahathir said that Malaysia needs to make our own "mould" of what a developed nation is, not just copy what another country is doing.

"It is not just about achieving a high gross domestic product (GDP) or per capita income, this alone doesn't mean that we are developed.

"If so, nations like Saudi Arabia and Brunei are considered developed," he said.

He believes that a developed nation means having the industrial capability to produce the latest technological products, having highly educated people, and having a country that understands the idea of democracy.

"We need to be sophisticated in all areas. We must have a good civilisation, justice, and democracy," the former premier added.

Dr Mahathir said this in his special address, titled "Social Media and the Future: View From An Elder Statesman".

The summit is part of the programme for the Malaysia Social Media Week that features a diverse roster of more than 30 international speakers and social media specialists from about 10 countries.

Other speakers include Malaysian Deputy Education Minister P. Kamalanathan, Umno Youth Exco and Samudra Oil Services CEO Shahril Hamdan, Social@Ogilvy regional director Jonathan Nguyen, India's Bharatiya Janata Party national head of information technology Arvind Gupta, Lenovo social data consultant Anna Rokina, Times Group Digital chief editor Rajesh Kalra, personalities such as Christopher Tock, Joe Lee, and bloggers Grace Tan and Ng Sock Peng.

Topics discussed at the event include crowdsourcing via social media, damage control on social media, and combining apps with social media campaigns.

The Malaysia Social Media Week began on Tuesday and will end on Saturday.