Former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad is both the architect and death of Vision 2020, said his ex-right hand man Musa Hitam.
Musa, who is a former deputy prime minister, said Mahathir's penchant for grooming followers and getting rid of potential leaders had been his own undoing.
“It is ironical that Mahathir’s vision is now certain to fail because of Mahathir himself.
"Brilliant as he was, he forgot that in order to succeed, he needed to train leaders at all levels - but most importantly, political leaders.
"But his personal leadership record shows that he did away with all potential leaders, one by one and in groups, and retained and trained followers," Musa was quoted as saying in a Malay Mail Online report today.
Musa was speaking at an event marking the 113th birthday of Malaysia’s first prime minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, in Kuala Lumpur last night.
He added that the followers Mahathir had kept by his side are now in power, but showed little interest in the country’s state of affairs.
This is despite the vision to transform Malaysia into a developed nation in 2020 “falling apart bit by bit, but with alarming speed," he pointed out.
"The only strong signals emanating from the leadership that show any signs of worry are the threats coming from them of ‘tightening’ selected security legislations, as well as laws that seem to be aimed at free speech and the press, with some - allegedly - even constitutionally questionable,” Musa said.
This is believed to be in reference to the National Security Council (NSC) Bill which critics say will grant Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak wide-ranging emergency powers.
Meanwhile, attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali has proposed amendments to the Official Secrets Act (OSA) to punish whistleblowers and journalists who leak state secrets, with life imprisonment.
"When a leader imposes himself and demands unquestioning loyalty accompanied by loss of respect of good governance, human rights and the rule of law, as well as not being considerate of the people’s welfare, the ugly head of dictatorship appears,” Musa stressed.
Mahathir had announced Vision 2020 while tabling the sixth Malaysia Plan in 1991.
The ex-prime minister is sceptical that his vision can now be realised under Najib's leadership.