Author:Pranoto Iskandar
Position:Founding Editor, the Institute for Migrant Rights
e Indonesian Journal of International & Comparative Law
ISSN: 2338-7602; E-ISSN: 2338-770X
© 2020 e Institute for Migrant Rights Press
Pranoto Iskandar
Founding Editor, the Institute for Migrant Rights
e symbolism of 2020 has long been evoked by Mahathir Moham-
mad. Back in 1991, Dr. Mahathir, in his role as Prime Minister of
Malaysia, introduced the (National) Vision 2020 that envisioned his
country as self-sucient by the year of 2020.1 Apparently, the reason he
chose 2020 had something to do with Dr. Mahathir’s background as a
medicine man. Or, as he put it himself, “I was a politician who became
a doctor.2 Also, it is interesting to note that Dr. Mahathir, “through-
out his life . . . behaved as the ever-diligent medical doctor, constantly
studying the symptoms to diagnose the cause of the ills in his commu-
nity and country, before proceeding to prescribe the correct treatment
to restore good health.3 It should not be surprising that Vision 2020
was not simply a desire to “catch up” with the West in terms of Malay-
sia’s economic or physical development. It was meant to achieve a more
ambitious and comprehensive goal of not only becoming economically
prosperous, but also, morally and culturally advanced, as well as spiri-
tual.4 Seeing this ambitious combination of goals, it made sense for Dr.
Mahathir to choose 2020, borrowing the lingo of eye exam meaning
“perfect vision” as he also knows very well, as the appropriate year for
things to happen.
1. See W 2020,
2. Dr Mahathir: I was a politician who became a doctor, T S (Nov. 13, 2018),
3. Ong HT, A doctor’s duty is to heal the unhealthy: the story of Tun Dr Mahathir
Mohamad, 34 A. A. M. S. 45C-51C (2005).
4. Christopher A. Furlow, Secularism in Malaysia, in M S  
S: C P  E  A (Ranjan Gosh ed.,
2013), at 213-14.

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