Shared prosperity,shared responsibility

Women reading booklets about the Shared Prosperity Vision at its launch in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. NSTP/SYARAFIQ ABD SAMAD

PRIME Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad yesterday launched the Shared Prosperity Vision, a master plan that spells the way forward to further enhance the people’s socio-economic well-being.

Dr Mahathir, during his first tenure as the country’s chief executive officer, had also launched Vision 2020.It was a vision set to propel the country to become developed status by the year 2020.

While that may not be achieved following serious distractions that have been widely reported worldwide, the basic principle of Vision 2020 remains.

Under the shared prosperity master plan, the vision had been further enhanced with careful thinking and specific target groups.

The Shared Prosperity Vision is more holistic and contemporary. It called for everyone in the country to play their roles to help the country and themselves.

Shared prosperity also means shared responsibility – the government and the people must act as one if this vision is to be realised.

This newspaper covered the shared prosperity master plan extensively in other pages.

I’ll put that aside for a while but a chance conversation at a food stall yesterday reflected considerable indifference by certain sections of society to the way forward.

A couple joined my table for a breakfast of roti canai and nasi lemak.All the tables were full, so I offered them to share my table. Smiles and handshakes followed.

As soon as the food arrived, the couple started complaining about the general cleanliness of the food court. They blamed City Hall, the stall operators, the patrons for throwing tissue papers and cigarette butts and a small family at the next table for not finishing their food.

They tried to draw me into the conversation. The wife then blurted: ‘Uncle boleh terima ke keadaan macam ni?’(Can you tolerate this situation?)

I suppressed a smirk. They looked like office workers, working probably in a government office or in some small office somewhere.

The seemed to have rather small minds. If the food court looked unsavoury to them, why have breakfast at this stall, I asked the couple.

‘Roti canai dia sedap dan murah. Nasi lemak pun bagus. Tak mahal dan popular,’ the husband said.(The roti canai is tasty and cheap, as is the nasi lemak.The stall is also popular.)

I resisted the urge to tell the couple off. Instead,I told them the food court was a lot dirtier before. But some of the stall operators got together and engaged two boys to do daily clean-ups.

Of course City Hall also has its contractors to clean every morning but the initiative taken by the stall operators is indeed commendable.

The couple’s attitude, to me, is quite typical of many people who are caught in a time warp — they never got past the period when they received handouts and freebies to live.

They seldom look at themselves and always blame others for whatever that is lacking.

This couple is not so bad. A village elder who doubled as a local politician has been complaining about the lack of opportunities for months.

He’s been sharing his views with whomever he bumped into at the local coffee shop.

To this small-time politician, the government has not done enough to help the people. For many years he was a village headman.

But he spent more time trying to climb the political ladder than leading the villagers to better their income and social wellbeing.

What’s the problem with some people? The negativity in them is so appalling. If only they take the trouble to go deeper into some of the government’s initiatives, they can benefit greatly.

This is not just today, mind you. Some people have been negative throughout, regardless of who forms and leads the government.

While they rave and rant, others who are always on the lookout for opportunities proceed to reap success on many fronts.

This is because they are alert and take the trouble to get ahead of the competition. The Shared Prosperity Vision is for everyone. Except for those who refuse to see and grab the opportunities

For hared prosperity to work, the people must do their share of the work too. After all, this is for them!

The writer is a former NST group editor. His first column appeared on Aug 27, 1995, as ‘Kurang Manis’

By Ahmad A Talib

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