Sunday, 4 November 2012


            Leadership is the process by which a person exerts influence over other people and inspires, motivates and directs their activities to help achieve group or organizational goals. The person who exerts such influence is a leader. When leaders are effective, the influence they exert over others helps a group or organization achieve its performance goal. When leaders are ineffective, their influence does not contribute to and often detracts from goal attainment.
            In Malaysia, one of my first and foremost choice in leadership is our fourth Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad. I admire him most not only because he was an effective leader, exerts strong influence and the way he motivates and inspires the Malaysian people with his beyond vision and plans.
Under his leading period, Malaysia economy has shifted from traditional agriculture to modern technology. He was making Malaysia economy grew strongly and the name of country outshine internationally. Under his leadership, the aim, mission, vision and country development ideas were successfully carried out continuously.
Profile and Career
            Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad was born on 20 December 1925 in Alor Setar, Kedah. His primary and secondary school were in his hometown and further his study at the King Edward College of Medicine in Singapore. He is married with Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah bt Mohd Ali and they have seven children.
            Upon graduation, he joined the Malaysian government service as a Medical Officer until 1957 and then entered private practise. He was first elected to parliament in 1964 as a member of a United Malays National Organisation (UMNO). His career in cabinet position started as he was appointed as Education Minister in 1974 rose to Deputy Prime Minister in 1976 in addition to his Education portfolio and relinquished the Education portfolio for that of Trade and Industry in 1978.
            Thus, Tun Dr. Mahathir became the Prime Minister of Malaysia on 16 July 1961 at the age of 55. Under his leadership, Malaysia witnessed rapid economic growth and social changes that brought the nation and people able to compete with the other nations of the world.
            On 13 October 2003 he stepped down after 22 years tenure as a Prime Minister and handed to his successor Dato’ Seri Abdullah bin Hj. Ahmad Badawi.
Greatest Achievements
·         Vision 2020
            His concerned about the progress of Malaysia and strongly needed an ultimate target to move forward. Vision 2020 was planned as it implied a clear idea of Malaysia direction by the year 2020.
            Vision 2020 was launched in 1991 and was a long term plan of Malaysia needed to do in order to become a fully develop country by year 2020. The main goals is to modernize and develop Malaysia based on its own model and develop that nation in terms of economic, politics, social, spiritual, psychology and culture.
            As Prime Minister and leader, he had a far sighted vision to make sure that his nation was not left far behind in the future.
·         The Multimedia Super Corridor
            Tun Dr. Mahathir wanted Malaysia to be a regional hub of the information resources in this part of the world which brought to the establish a hi-tech advance multimedia project, so called Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC).
             MSC covers 750 km2 stretching from Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) to Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang. A multimedia city called Cyberjaya allocate a place of industries using information and conducting research on information based technology and its applications, together with various other business based on information technology and telecommunications.
·         Petronas Twin Tower
            In the early 1990s, Tun Dr Mahathir wanted Malaysia acts as a global player   to create a landmark that would represent Malaysia as a modern country. Designed with 88-stories twin tower and connected by a bridge, this amazing skyscraper which is located right in the heart of city centre is Kuala Lumpur’s crown jewel. The bridge symbolized as gateway of Malaysian’s future.
            The twin towers is owned by Petronas, Malaysia’s government-owned oil company and the building was also occupied by associated Malaysian firms as well as multinational companies.  As Malaysian, we should proud when Twin Tower become a national landmark on the international stage.
·         Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and Formula One Circuit
            The planning to build KLIA began in 1990 when the government decided that the existing airport (Subang International Airport) would not suffice to handle                                                                            future demand. Tun Dr Mahathir was a prime driver behind the project. KLIA is one of the major airports of South East Asia which is huge even multinational level. The project officially inaugurated on 27 June 1998. Currently, the airport handles 35 million passengers and 1.2 million tonnes of cargo and ranked the 14th busiest airport in the world, and is 5th busiest international airport in Asia.
            Sepang International Circuit was officially inaugurated by Tun Dr Mahathir on March 1999.     The aspiration wanted Malaysia as a hub for motor racing activities in the region and also a catalyst for Malaysia’s motorsports industry.
·         The North South Expressway
            The North-South Expressway starts at Bukit Kayu Hitam and ends in Johor Bahru, linking all major cities on the West Coast of Peninsular Malaysia. It was officially opened on 8  September 1994 by Tun Dr Mahathir, signalling the coming of age of Malaysia’s road transportation system.
            The country’s successful privatisation programme coupled with its strong economic growth has also encouraged more highway development projects in the last few years and contribute to the country’s rapid socio-economic development.
            Along his tenure as a Prime Minister, many titles were given to him such as ‘Third World Leader’, ‘Spokesman for Developing Nations’ and Respected Muslim’.  His wisdom and braveness make he was loathed and loved by his people as well as overseas.
Domestic Affairs
·         Policy
            Tun Dr Mahathir initiated several changes in the administrative system of the country by introducing various policy. The implementation of these policies has brought Malaysian Civil Service being among the best in the world
‘Clean, Efficient and Trustworthy’ policy
‘Leadership by Example’ policy
Instilling “Islamic Values in Administration’ Policy
‘Buy British Last’ Policy
‘Look East’ Policy
·        Navigating the 1997 Asian financial crisis
            Asian financial crisis in 1997 was a period of financial crisis that gripped much of Asian and raised fears of a worldwide economic.  Ignoring aid offered and advice from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Tun Dr. Mahathir imposed strict capital controls and introduced Malaysian Ringgit peg against the US dollar and succeeded.
            Malaysia came out of the crisis certainly less scared and faster than Thailand or Indonesia, the two Asean neighbours who follow the IMF programme. Tun Dr Mahathir had successfully handled the financial crisis and stabilized Malaysian economy.
·         The Writer  
Tun Dr Mahathir first wrote as editor of the Sultan Abdul Hamid’s College’s Darulaman magazine. Later he was editor of the journal The Cauldron, when he was studying at King Edward VII  College of Medicine, Singapore. Among his works are ‘The Monetary Crisis of Malaysia: How and Why It Happened,’ ‘A New Deal for Asia’, ‘The Way Forward’, ‘The Voice of Asia: Tow Leaders Discuss the Coming Century’, ‘The Malaysian System of Government’, ‘Menerangi Kemiskinan: Peladang, Penternak dan Nelayan’, ‘Regionalism, Globalism and Spheres of Influence’, ‘The Challenge’, ‘Guide for Small Businessmen’, ‘Malay Dilemma’, ‘Warisan Kepimpinan’ and ‘Menghadapi Cabaran.’
International Affairs
During Tun Dr Mahathir era, ASEAN eventually came to include all ten countries of the region. His actions in the region were more pragmatic. Tun Dr Mahathir alongside other ASEAN leaders from Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand saw ASEAN within the framework of regional security and as an expanding market for Malaysian goods and services. In ensuring regional security, Mahathir continued Malaysia’s longstanding hybrid form of neutrality.
With the end of the Cold War and the rise of China, Tun Dr Mahathir and ASEAN realised that a new platform was needed to ensure regional security and to contain China. Mahathir therefore took an active role in the shaping of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), ASEAN’s post-Cold War regional security apparatus. The ARF brought together the regional powers and the United States in an effort to guarantee regional peace.
In expanding its markets and in response to the formation of the European Union (EU) and the North American Free Trade Association, Mahathir and ASEAN responded with another free trade agreement called the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement.
On the regional front, Mahathir tried his best to keep Australia and the US out of the region to satisfy his own prejudices. While the US was too powerful to be ignored, Mahathir relished vetoing Australia’s involvement in ASEAN-related forums. Since his departure, Australia has been granted its relevant memberships and Malaysia is now more closely aligned to both Australia and the US than ever before.
As Prime Minister for over twenty years (1981 to 2003), he led Malaysia’s development as one of the tiger economies of South East Asia, encouraging Malaysia to become one of the technological and industrial powerhouses of South East Asia
Throughout his ruling tenure , Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad remains the most influential person in Malaysia as  smart, visionary and also charismatic, made Malaysians also believe in himself and also proud of the nation.
For his efforts in promoting the economic development of the country, Mahathir has been granted the soubriquet, Bapa Pemodenan (Father of Modernization). He forever pondered and strove to make sure that everything planned for the betterment of the people must be reached with success.
            Me myself, as I was appointed as an Administration and Diplomatic Officer on August 2009, the great responsibility have to be carry out. Who knows, a person who was very low profile and less prominent during my University period able to become and joined this very elite scheme.
            I believe a character of leadership is in me, once I  been offered with this post. Along three years I performed my duty in three various department, I managed to perform every tasks given without fail even somehow it was definitely needed a tough and prompt act.
             A good leader is not as simple as thought. I also realised that nobody can teach us leadership. It is something we have to learn. We learn principally from experience. There are no set rules, or set systems that we can rely on. We as a person are a unique with a desire a distinctive path of leadership in front of us. Nobody can teach us  the way, we have to find it ourselves.
            As to ensure I will continue to grow and develop as a leader, I have to always stay confident. In order to boost my confident level, I need to be prepared for any circumstances and accept any work challenges that might come. Besides, I also need to be proactive. I will take courses, read, stimulate and take up any such offers to grow. I should share with my subordinate my hopes, intentions and ambitions to make our public service being more transparent and  reliable.
            In order to be a good leader, I believe I must be a reflective person. Always look for feedback which is a bit of a guidance mechanism in a rocket. If I receive it with an open mind, looking for the truth in it, it will guide me on my path to excellence in leadership. List things that are going well and identify some specific areas for self-improvement. Most importantly, to becoming a very good leader and even an excellent or great leader, is by aiming higher.
            It does take time, for there is no such thing as instant leadership. Therefore, be patient with my little achievement and aim to take a step forward each day. Do something differently tomorrow and never stop trying because I knew it will help me in moving forward. For me as a true leader, I believe that we should be a warrior. With that, be a happy warrior to make it happen.
A Doctor In The House; The Memoirs of Tun Dr Mahathir Muhammad; MPH Group Publishing Sdn Bhd, 2011
Mahathir Arkitek Kecemerlangan Perkhidmatan Awam- Sempena Majlis Perhimpunan Hari Pekerja Tahun 2003 Bagi anggota Sektor Awam Pada 29 Mei 2003; Jabatan Perkhidmatan Awam Malaysia, 2003
Grown Your Own Leaders-How To Identify, developed and Retain Leadership talent; William C Bhyam, Audrey B Smith Matthew J Peese; Financial Times Prantice Hall; 2002
Sustaining Change – Leadership That Works; Deborah Rowland & Malcolm Higgs; JB Jossey-Bass; 2008
Executive Coaching-Practices & Perspective; Catherine Fitzgerald, Jennifer Qarvey Berger; Davies-Black publishing Mountain View California; 2002
DPA 1/2012

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