December 29, 2012
Character and Leadership
by Dato’ Ariff Sabri@http://sakmongkol.blogspot.com
The Government of a nation itself is usually found to be but the reflex of the individuals composing it. The Government that is ahead of the people will inevitably be dragged down to their level, as the Government that is behind them will in the long run be dragged up.
In the order of nature, the collective character of a nation will as surely find its befitting results in its law and government, as water finds its own level.
The noble people will be nobly ruled, and the ignorant and corrupt ignobly. Indeed all experience serves to prove that the worth and strength of a State depend far less upon the form of its institutions than upon the character of its men.
For the nation is only an aggregate of individual conditions, and civilization itself is but a question of the personal improvement of the men, women, and children of whom society is composed.
Samuel Smiles (a Scottish author and reformer pic above) wrote the above. Every leader of any nation has grappled with the issue. What is the secret ingredient of a good government? Smiles had the answer- the secret of good government is having good people heading it.
Lee Kuan Yew (left) tackled this issue a long time ago, and set out to cultivate good people to lead the Singapore government. He must have done something right, because Singapore is now the richest country in the world.
North of the causeway, the UMNO leader who ruled for 22 years as Prime Minister and many years as, Senator, Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, must have done something wrong. Our country is getting top placing for the wrong reasons.
Mahathir has admitted his failure to improve the Malays, yet the Malays still want to support him? Mahathir has admitted that after 55 years, Malays are still beggars in their own country; Malays are urged to continue supporting UMNO? Are Malays political masochists? You get high as you are abused more. You want people molded after Mahathir’s image to come back and lead us so that they can whip us further to get us high?
We are looking for people with commitment, deep-seated beliefs in democracy, resolute in putting the interests of others before self. These traits are not inherited. Otherwise we will not have Najib Razak and Hishammudin Hussein. They didn’t inherit the characteristics of the fathers.
Just look at the state by which we are governed, it is clear that indeed the worth and
strength of a State depend far less upon the form of its institutions than upon the character of its men. We are like this because our leaders lack character and integrity. The man, who says he is Prime Minister to all, keeps quiet when citizens are set upon and harm inflicted upon them.
The Home Minister in charge of the Police is equally mute suggesting that he has no character and integrity to hold such office. The rakyat are being bullied and set upon, the characterless people leading the State, the Ministry, the institution keep quiet. Tun Razak, Tun Dr Ismail (right) and Tun Hussein will never countenance these things.
We look around us, we don’t see Malaysia being deficient in the number of institutions that we have. We have the judicial institutions, the law enforcement agencies, we have the state legislative councils, we have Parliament, and we have Kings. Indeed we have everything. What is missing is the character of the men heading those institutions.
Where is the democratic right to move freely across this country? Interests groups are stopped from going into FELDA schemes because some supporters of the government will not allow NGO’s opposed to FELDA to speak to settlers. What is there to hide? If the people doing the explaining break the law, charge them under that particular wrong. The FELDA settlers are people who can think for themselves.
When I wrote about the FGV listing a long time ago, I received many e-mails suggesting that I was envious of FELDA people getting money. Now, FELDA people are realizing that have been conned into transforming their tangible assets into paper assets tradeable in the stock exchange where control over the assets depends on the quality of people managing those assets. Well, you have people like Isa Samad and his sycophants watching over the FELDA assets, I am sure settlers can sleep peacefully at night.
Opposition parties hold ceramahs under the watchful eyes of the Police, and the Police did not stop other groups from causing disturbances and bodily harm. We know these trouble makers are UMNO people- yet the Prime Minister for all the people, maintains his silence on this infringement of democratic rights. Is UMNO, which is now led and headed by many people lacking in character and integrity, condoning violence and aggression on people?
I was listening to an old video clip showing Zainuddin Maidin’s response to questions posed to him by Al Jazeera. The TV station showed scenes of demonstrators being fired upon by water cannons and teargases. The response ex tempore, by Zainuddin as Minister of Information then would make any Malaysian citizen cringe in embarrassment.
An Information Minister was talking like a person with a passable lower certificate of education. Not only could he not answer the questions in a rational sounding manner, he went immediately into a tirade accusing the media of manipulating the news.
How could a person of this caliber represent Malaysia as an Information Minister- he was simply gibberish. Fast forward to now, we can get a clear picture as to why the same person, not a Minister any longer can give the answers he gave when asked to assess former Indonesian President’s visit to Malaysia recently. Only a person of this mental caliber can come up with similarly hostile and hopelessly incoherent statements about BJ Habibie’s recent private visit to Malaysia.
And the Prime Minister of Malaysia, equally vacuous and pathetic, rationalized the incident by saying that these deranged statements are to be expected during `erection’ year.