Not long before Rustam Sani passed away in 2008, I met him in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.
Though he was a giant of a public intellectual, Rustam, the son of the famous independent era nationalist Ahmad Boestamam, came across as modest, good-humoured and soft-spoken. He had a warm and gentle, almost impish smile and a twinkle in the eye that made him easy to like.
While chatting about politics and current affairs over drinks, Rustam mentioned in passing that he was the one who crafted much of the Vision 2020 speech by then-Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad in 1991 – something few are aware of.
That took me by surprise, but in hindsight, you can almost see Rustam’s hand in the aspirations of Vision 2020. By 2020, we were supposed to be a psychologically liberated, secure and developed Malaysian society, a mature democratic society. This society would be fully moral, ethical, liberal and progressive – caring and socially just with a fair distribution of the nation’s wealth. We would have a dynamic, robust and resilient economy too. Full article in Aliran website