Restoring Trust in Leadership

January 31, 2018

Restoring Trust in Leadership

by Douglas Elmendorf and Nitin Nohria

Recent polling confirms what street protests and online activism in recent years have already been indicating: the public’s trust in government and private institutions is dismally low. To change that, political, business, and civil-society leaders need to demonstrate honest, principled leadership that puts the public interest first.

DAVOS – As is often the case, informal conversations at the World Economic Forum’s just-completed annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, inevitably alluded to the Edelman Trust Barometer, an annual poll of public confidence in business, media, government, and nongovernmental organizations. After all, Davos participants are leaders in these fields, and the results of the most recent poll are chastening.

In 2017, 71% of respondents globally considered government officials not credible or only somewhat credible, and 63% of respondents had the same dismal view of CEOs. This should not come as a surprise. Across dozens of countries, people have been airing their grievances against the status quo through social media, protests, consumer choice, and the ballot box

Societies and economies pay a high price when citizens do not have faith in public- and private-sector leaders. Distrust leads to political polarization, widespread anxiety about the future, and uncertainty in domestic affairs and international relations. And these symptoms then reinforce the loss of trust, creating a vicious circle.

Clearly, citizens should be able to expect more from their leaders. To that end, as the deans of the Harvard Kennedy School and the Harvard Business School, respectively, we strive to impart the values of effective leadership to our students. We teach them that leadership is not about opportunism or winning at any cost. It is about advancing the common good and making a difference in the world.

The most effective business leaders care about more than quarterly profits or beating the competition, just as the most effective government leaders care about more than winning the next election or grabbing headlines. In any domain, an effective leader looks out for everyone he or she serves, and adheres to a set of core values.

If people in positions of power aspire to this vision of principled leadership – at work and in their own lives – trust in businesses, governments, and civic institutions can be restored around the world. But they will also need to consider the root causes of the problem.

Image result for Winston Churchill.Sir Winston S. Churchill– A Towering Briton


First and foremost, people simply do not trust their leaders always to speak honestly. To change that, the effective leader must show that he or she values truth and evidence above all else. By valuing truth, one forces oneself to make decisions based on sound reasons rather than self-interest. When tempted by self-interest, aspiring leaders should emulate figures known for their honesty and truth-telling, such as Warren Buffett or Winston Churchill.

Beyond honesty, effective leadership also requires respect for individuals, regardless of their demographic background or past experiences. People understandably become disillusioned when their government or the business community doesn’t seem to value them, especially when such treatments stems from their gender, race, religion, sexual identity, or national origin. To prevent that from happening, public- and private-sector leaders should focus on building diverse and inclusive organizations, as Tim Cook has done since becoming the CEO of Apple.


Image result for Apple's Tim CookApple’s Tim Cook–An Outstanding Leader



Moreover, respecting people means listening to their viewpoints and not talking past them, even when you disagree. Thus, an effective leader is one who promotes free speech, engages in civil discourse, and remains open to compromise. Even when a decision doesn’t go someone’s way, that person will want – and deserves – to be heard.

The challenge for leaders, then, is to find ways to work with people who hold different opinions without abandoning their own core principles. One model for this style of leadership is Robert Zimmer, the President of The University of Chicago, who advocates for free and open speech even when the ideas being espoused are unpopular or distasteful. As Zimmer wrote in the University of Chicago Magazine in 2016, “Universities cannot be viewed as a sanctuary for comfort but rather as a crucible for confronting ideas.”


Image result for Michael Bloomberg

Michael Bloomberg–A truly outstanding and compassionate Leader

Lastly, effective leadership means delivering excellent and responsive service to one’s customers or constituents, as Michael Bloomberg did as the Mayor of New York. When people do not feel that their leaders are working in their interest or addressing genuine needs, they lose confidence. To restore it, government officials must build and defend robust civic institutions and political processes that serve the public interest; and businesses must ensure that they are working effectively for all of their stakeholders.

Accordingly, public- and private-sector leaders should look for ways to help those who feel frustrated and left behind economically or socially. One good model is Year Up, a fast-growing nonprofit organization founded by Harvard Business School graduate Gerald Chertavian in 2000. Year Up helps disadvantaged urban youth acquire the skills they will need for higher education and professional careers. Another good model is Girls Who Code, which Harvard Kennedy School graduate Reshma Saujani founded in 2012 to address the tech sector’s gender gap.

The success of these programs shows that when leaders focus on creating opportunities for people who have not been treated fairly, they can build more cohesive societies and equip more people to contribute productively to the economy. Looking ahead, governments, businesses, and civil-society organizations must put values-driven leadership at the heart of their missions.


Membajakan Lalang (Fertilizing the Weeds)

January 31, 2018

Membajakan Lalang (Fertilizing the Weeds)

by Dr. M Bakri Musa, Morgan-Hill, California

Image result for m bakri musaDr.M Bakri Musa

The seeming success of those pseudo (or crony) Malay capitalists wreak havoc on our community on many fronts. First, they become role models for the rest of our community. As such those negative values get entrenched in our culture. Second, we aggravate that by honoring these crooks. The message is then conveyed that to succeed you do not need to work hard or be conscientious rather be corrupt and suck up to your superiors. That perpetuates the “who you know, not what you know” mindset. Once those values become embedded in a culture, then it is doomed to continued mediocrity.

Consider Malaysian’s royal awards list and compare that to America’s highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. A few observations stand out right away. First, with the latter you do not have much trouble associating the names with their achievements: Muhammad Ali, the greatest boxer ever; James Watson, the biologist who elucidated the structure of genes; and crooner Frank Sinatra who still breaks the hearts of not just matronly ladies.

Second is the diversity of achievements that are being recognized–leading scientists, architects and public servants as well as superb sportsmen, successful executives, and creative artists. Politicians and career civil servants are a distinct minority in the American award list.

While there are many public officials honored, they are rewarded not simply because of their official positions. Meaning, there are many more judges, diplomats, and cabinet secretaries who are not honored than who are.

Now consider Malaysia’s civil honor list. The Chief Secretary is definitely destined for a Tan Sri no matter how unspectacular his tenure. Likewise, the Chief Justice is certain to receive a “Tun” even though he has been implicated in a “judge fixing” scandal and involved in a fraudulent marriage in South Thailand. Likewise former prime ministers, no matter how mediocre their tenure.

Image result for McNamara and Kissinger

That observation brings up another important point. Very few American honorees have been implicated in any sordid or dishonorable activity. That reflects the sterling inner core of those honored. In cases where they were later discredited, those were mostly because of changing public opinions and policies, as with Robert McNamara over his management of the Vietnam War, or Henry Kissinger over his Chilean involvement.

Image result for McNamara and Kissinger

Compare that with the Malaysian civil honorees. We have one Tun, a former cabinet minister, involved in a corruption scandal over the Port Klang Development, and too numerous to count Datuks convicted of criminal activities. Then there is the infamous trio comprising, among others, a former Chief Minister of a state, also a Tan Sri, whose current obsession is pimping female escorts to entrap leading political figures. That former Chief Minister succeeded only in resurrecting his earlier sordid sex scandal involving a minor.

It would even be more interesting to discern from the royal honor list the patterns with respect to race. For Malays, the list is heavily skewed towards politicians of the ruling coalition and civil servants. Not any civil servant however; the post-retirement activities and pronouncements of those honored would betray their political inclinations. The Chinese recipients are mostly businessmen with lots of money to throw around. Draw the inference to that observation.

While the focus has been on these honorees who are bad actors, there is little attention paid to where they get their datukships. Had that been pursued more aggressively, it would point sharply to a few state palaces, Pahang being the most notorious.

Success is its own reward; there is little need to honor those who are successful. However, by doing so we hope to inspire others to follow in their footsteps. The people we choose to honor and celebrate thus become a surrogate statement of our and our culture’s values and whom we hold in high esteem. The destructive part of honoring deviants, corrupt politicians, and judge fixers is that we are in effect not only condoning but also rewarding those disgusting behaviors.

Image result for Pramoedya Ananta Toer


The flip side of this is equally revealing. One can tell much about a society by how it regards its gifted and talented. This is the reason why I am pessimistic about the future of our neighbor Indonesia. The world honors Pramoedya Ananta Toer (pic above) but his native country saw fit to banish and incarcerate him on a remote island. His books are lauded worldwide but they are banned in his own country. Leading universities abroad honored Pram but it is the rare Indonesian student who has even heard of him, let alone read his books.

My late father had an apt expression for what I am trying to convey here. Although he was a teacher, his passion was farming, rubber planting in particular. As all Malaysian planters know, the biggest and most persistent weed is the dreaded rhizome, lalang. It sucks the nutrients out of the ground so that nothing else can grow, forcing even the lowly earthworms to abandon the soil. The lalang pretty much destroys the land as far as its ability to support any other life form.

Image result for Weeding the Lalang


When we honor these less-than-illustrious characters and the downright corrupt and incompetent, we are in effect, in my father’s words, membajakan lalang (fertilizing the weeds).

Left alone those lalang will take over the land in no time; imagine if we were to encourage it by fertilizing it! There is only one thing worse than a field of lalang, and that is trying to convince others that it is something else, like a field of alfalfa. Not even the donkeys would buy that!

Malaysia: Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah on the need for Ethical Leadership

January 31, 2018

Malaysia: Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah on the need for Ethical Leadership

by Geraldine

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah (seen with G25’s Dato Redzuan Kushairi) at a press conference in Shah Alam on January 27, 2018

It is not good enough for a leader to be “cleaner than others”, said Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.

“It, therefore, follows that such a view as ‘but our leaders are cleaner than those from some other countries’ is unacceptable.It should be ‘our leaders are clean’, full stop,” he said in his keynote address at the G25 public forum titled “Reforms for a Progressive Malaysia” in Shah Alam today.

Tengku Razaleigh also said that a good leader must be an ethical person with high integrity, who is honest and sincere. A morally upright leader would have a strong moral high ground as his leadership base. Conversely, once that high ground is lost, the right to remain in office becomes ticklish,” he said.

In the age of social media, Tengku Razaleigh said this “loss of right” would be disseminated quickly and in no uncertain terms. The masses rightly consider it their right to have leaders of high morality, he added.

This moral right, he said, is one of two elements of leadership right with the other one being the physical right.

For example, Tengku Razaleigh said, a political party must win a fairly contested election so that it may govern a country. “Should that election be run on the principle of victory as reflected by being first past the post, then a political grouping without a majority of popular votes but having the majority of elected seats will be on a sticky wicket.This would amount to a lack of moral right to lead,” he added.

Good leadership would also require leaders in both public and private sectors to subject themselves to public scrutiny, he said.

He suggested that the scrutiny is done by Parliament through a “permanent independent multi-party commission” answerable only to the august House.The commission should be given wide powers to investigate and confiscate illegally obtained assets.

“Everyone who was vested with executive authority must be subjected to this examination.“Personally I would freely offer and submit myself to this examination,” he said.

Tengku Razaleigh also stressed the importance of a balanced separation of powers between the executive, legislature and judiciary branch of government.

“A student of politics is inclined to think that this is stating the obvious.But we have to since that separation of powers had once been trampled upon in our case,” he said.


The Closing of the Malay Mind

January 30, 2018

The Closing of the Malay Mind

by Dennis Ignatius

The closing of the Malay mind

Image result for Najib and Rani Kulup

Role Models for The Malays: Between Najib Razak and Rani Kulup: Who is more stupid?

In his 1987 book, ‘The Closing of the American Mind: How Higher Education Has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today’s Students’, Allan Bloom, an American political philosopher, argued that the social/political crisis of 20th-century America was really an intellectual crisis resulting from an education system that rendered students incapable of critical thinking.

Given the statements emanating from the recent ‘Rise of the Ummah Convention’, one has to wonder if something similar might be going on here as well.

Image result for Malay racists


Have decades of politico-religious indoctrination led to the closing of the Malay-Muslim mind, diminishing their self-confidence and making it difficult for them to arrive at a realistic appreciation of the world they inhabit?

Are we, in fact, witnessing an intellectual and emotional retreat into a dark world of self-created fantasies and fears straight out of some ‘wayang kulit’ show?

The dominant narrative

Listening in on the very public discourse within significant segments of the Malay community, it appears that racial and religious issues have overtaken everything else to become the dominant narrative. Their whole world seems to have been reduced to something of an existential racial and religious struggle for survival against a plethora of enemies of their own making.

Image result for Racist Hishamuddin Hussein Onn

Western-educated Malays–Khairy Jamaluddin and Hishamuddin Hussein Onn–turned racists

This shift in mindset is finding expression in a number of different ways. For one thing, we are seeing a rising tide of segregationist ideas including Muslims-only laundrettes, barbershops and photo-studios. As well, there is growing acceptance of the idea that it is haram to wish others for Christmas, Diwali or Chinese New Year, attend functions in non-Malay/non-Muslim homes or even to vote for non-Muslims.

The underlying presumption, though unspoken, is that non-Muslims and non-Malays are somehow unclean, that their very presence is defiling and challenging to the Malay-Muslim sense of identity and that good Malays/Muslims ought to have as little to do with non-Malays as possible.

The animus towards non-Malays has reached such intensity that even the pathetically few senior positions held by non-Malays in public service attracts controversy. Have we gone from aspiring for a public service reflective of our diversity to one where even the few non-Malays in high office are a few too many?

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India’s Islamic Extremist Zakir Naik and PAS’s Hadi Awang

And, by insisting that Islam does not permit non-Malays to hold senior positions in a Muslim-majority polity, PAS President Hadi Awang has conveniently provided a theological justification for institutionalizing discrimination against non-Muslims.

At the same time, we have government-affiliated think tanks and educational institutions regularly obsessing about cataclysmic threats to Islam from imaginary groups. Christians, in particular, are vilified and even their prayers for a better nation are considered subversive and disrespectful. The crusades ended in 1291 but apparently some have not yet received the memo.

The underlying sense of insecurity also extends to culture. Traditional Malay culture, with its rich infusion of Asian influences, for example, is now considered something of an embarrassment and is downplayed or denied while Arab culture is considered superior and extolled. In the process, key elements of Malay culture – dress, dance, art and custom – are being jettisoned in favour of the desert culture of Bedouins.

Surely, if there is a battle worth fighting, it is the battle to preserve Malay culture and its unique contribution to civilization.

Image result for Ismail Mina


And now we have clerics like Ismail Mina Ahmad attempting to rewrite non-Malays out of the history of our nation while educators like Datuk Raof Husin insist that even the meagre scholarships that non-Malays presently receive should be withdrawn on the spurious grounds that it is unconstitutional. Do they ever listen to themselves? What kind of a nation considers it okay to be so spiteful and discriminatory against its own citizens?

It is, I suppose, the next step in the evolution of the “pendatang” construct with minorities cast as interloping, unpatriotic, scheming idolaters who deserve nothing but contempt for daring to consider themselves Malaysian with equal rights and privileges.

Not by Accident

Of course, all this is not happening by accident; it is, rather, the result of a well-orchestrated though ultimately destructive strategy by UMNO deep-state (with the tacit support of PAS) to reshape and refocus the Malay-Muslim mind. The objective is to ensure the party’s own survival by diverting attention from scandal and failure to imaginary threats that the party itself has invented.

Image result for Malay women in tudungsUMNO Hoods


And they have been so successful at this game that a wide cross-section of Malay-Muslim society has now bought into their narrative, making it the dominant framework through which everything else is viewed. When even university professors start unthinkingly regurgitating this fabricated and bizarre narrative, the stage is set for intellectual, cultural and religious conformity and rigidity – groupthink on a national scale replete with dysfunctional decision-making, the suppression of dissenting views and isolationist tendencies.

As many observers have rightly noted, race and religion have been weaponized and employed to keep Malay-Muslims subservient and non-Malays on the defensive. In the process, UMNO has condemned all Malaysians – Malay and non-Malay, Muslim and non-Muslim – to forever run on the treadmill of an existential struggle for survival against each other while leaving the party to do as it pleases.

Descent into Absurdity

Image result for Malay women in tudungs

And so, at a time when our nation is faced with serious and very real problems from corruption and the plunder of national resources, institutional decay and the abuse of power, we have groups worrying about who should cut their hair or wash their clothes or take their photographs.

At a time when the real enemies of our nation are destroying it, we have no shortage of pseudo-nationalists ready to do battle against minorities, deviants, gays, liberals, atheists and, of course, Jews and Christians.

At a time when we are confronted with serious social problems, youth unemployment and falling living standards, we have people arguing about who is best qualified to carry out amputations for theft or proper procedures to ascertain the gender of men or women who might fall short of some airhead’s idea of what they should look like.

At a time when even Saudi Arabia wants to return to moderate Islam, we have zealots blindly pushing the nation towards an extremism that has proven so destructive elsewhere. Such is the extent of the lunacy that has descended upon the nation.

Zenith of Power, abyss of insecurity

Ironically, this shift in mindset is happening at a time when Malay power has reached a zenith unparalleled in history, and Islam itself more firmly entrenched and accepted than at any time since it first came to the country in the 12th century, courtesy of traders from India.

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The Klepto-in-Chief, UMNO President Najib Razak

As well, one would have thought that some 60 years after independence, after more than 40 years of Bumiputraism, after securing near total dominance of the nation’s political and economic structures, the armed forces, the civil service and academia, and with the steadily declining non-Malay demographic, Malays would at least feel more confident and secure.

Instead, thanks to UMNO, a siege mentality has descended over a large segment of the Malay community making them fearful and resentful, bigoted and unsure of themselves. As well, it is obliging them to retreat behind self-defeating walls that will render them less able to compete and hold their own in a rapidly changing world. If they cannot be secure and confident within the narrow confines of a small multi-ethnic polity, how will they compete in a borderless world that respects neither race nor religion? It is, in many ways, the ultimate betrayal.

Battle for the Malay Mind

To be sure, the struggle for the Malay-Muslim mind is far from over. Alarmed by the emerging ethos, the slow extinction of Malay culture and the rising tide of intolerance, the Malay rulers, the ultimate custodians of Malay religion, culture and identity, are speaking out like never before, and in uncharacteristically strong terms.

A number of Malay groups and individuals have also risen to challenge the UMNO-inspired narrative. G25, the Patriots Association, PAGE and Islamic Renaissance Front, to name a few, have been outspoken opponents of bigotry and racism while championing an alternative vision of a Malay community at peace with itself, confident of its place in the world, open and tolerant.

They are about the only bright spot in an otherwise gloomy picture, and upon their success will rest the future not just of the Malays but of all Malaysians.

Mahathir Foils Najib’s Secret Plan to unleash Emergency Rule

January 30, 2018

Mahathir Foils Najib’s Secret Plan to unleash Emergency Rule by  meeting  14 EU Ambassadors


A month before Malaysia’s 13th general election on 5th May 2013, something quite interesting and amusing occurred behind closed doors. Opposition de-facto leader Anwar Ibrahim and then Prime Minister Najib Razak signed a secret agreement at the presence of former Indonesian vice-president Jusuf Kalla. Why was there such an agreement?

Image result for Anwar, Kalla and Najib

Najib Razak, Jusuf Kalla and Anwar Ibrahim

The long and short of it is this: Anwar was confident he could defeat Najib whereas Najib was convinced he could maintain power. Therefore, Mr. Jusuf, an Indonesian who should not have had interfered in Malaysia’s internal affairs, was sought to secure the agreement – that both sides must accept the results of the general election, even in the event of a slim majority by either side.

At the end, thanks to massive gerrymandering and first-past-the-post voting, Mr. Najib gets to form the federal government even though Mr. Anwar won the popular votes. But even if the opposition managed to win with slim majority, there’s no guarantee they could form the federal government. Besides, there’s no reason to believe Jusuf Kalla can’t be bribed to be on Najib Razak’s side.


After all, we’re talking about Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim nation which is still heavily tainted with corruption, racism and extremism as can be seen in the case of Basuki Tjahaja Purnama – or simply “Ahok” – the first ethnic-Chinese governor of Jakarta who eventually lost his governorship due to conservative Islamist opponents playing “religion card”.

Malaysia’s 14th general election can be called anytime soon, which will have to happen on or before 24 August 2018. Like 5 years ago, the same dilemma arises. Anwar is currently in prison (for the second time for the same crime of sodomy). Interestingly, Mahathir Mohamad, the country’s former premier who was on Najib’s side in 2013, has today become de-facto opposition leader.

Image result for How Najib becomes a millionaire--Finance Twitter

The Man behind Najib’s Millions– Jho Low helped set up 1MDB fund scam

Unlike the 13th general election, PM Najib might not be so lucky this round. He was caught with his hand in the cookie jar – a whopping US$681 million in his private banking accounts. His highly unpopular 6% GST (goods and services tax), introduced on 1 April 2015, is causing economic apocalypse – angering even traditional rural ethnic-Malays who have been keeping him in power.

Image result for How Najib becomes a millionaire--Finance Twitter


Supposing 92-year-old Mahathir, a veteran who ruled for 22-years from 1981 to 2003, could somehow lead the opposition to win the coming 14th nationwide election, what’s there to stop the corrupted Najib from clinging to power? Since the Election Commission isn’t fair or clean, they could delay the official results, allowing Najib sufficient time to bribe some opposition winners to switch side.

If that fails, a desperate Najib could resort to desperate measure. As the chairman of National Security Council (NSC), Mr. Najib has the power to invoke the NSC Act 2016, declare a state of emergency without having to go through the King (Agong). Under the fake pretext of defending the country, Malay race and Islam, Najib could shamelessly rule like a dictator.

True, the declaration of emergency is only valid for 6 months but it can be renewed indefinitely thereafter. Essentially, Najib could use the powerful NSC Act to rule forever because such order cannot be revoked by Lower House (Dewan Rakyat) or Upper House (Dewan Negara) since both houses were dissolved when an election is declared.


So, should Mahathir make another childish agreement the same way Najib and Anwar did back in 2013? More importantly, can Mahathir trust a referee such as former Indonesian vice-president Jusuf Kalla? Absolutely not – and that’s why he went to European Union seeking mediation in case his protégé turned nemesis Najib decides to play dirty upon a defeat.

When a secret 2-hour meeting – between Mahathir and 14 EU ambassadors – held at the residence of Maria Castillo Fernández (EU’s Ambassador and Head of Delegation to Malaysia) was exposed, all hell breaks loose. Representatives from all opposition parties of Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope) were present where topics such as EU observers, 1MDB scandal and 14th general election were discussed.

The first person who slammed the meeting was none other than Najib’s cousin, Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein. The second person who did the same was Foreign Minister Anifah Aman, calling the meeting as “most unpatriotic,” conveniently ignored the fact that his boss had gone to neighbour Indonesia asking for “interference” about 5 years ago.


Najib son of Razak, of course, was absolutely furious over the secret meeting (25th Jan). A recognition (or rejection for that matter) from European Union, a political and economic union of 28 member states, obviously is more valuable and powerful than an endorsement from Indonesia. Aside requesting for EU observers to prevent cheating from Election Commission and Najib regime, Mahathir also seeks something else.

Image result for How Najib becomes a millionaire--Finance Twitter

By dragging E.U. into Malaysia’s 14th general election, Mahathir hopes Najib would think twice before invoking the NSC Act and install himself as a dictator. Mahathir knew without E.U.’s approval of a fair and clean election, the legitimacy of Najib regime would be put to question by at least 28 world leaders from Europe, and that’s a big deal.

But why didn’t Mahathir approach President Donald Trump? That’s because the image of the United States as the leader of democracy has been hugely eroded under Trump administration. Trump doesn’t care about human rights or democracy, let alone climate change. That explains why Trump willingly met Najib, the world’s biggest crook, at the White House last year.


That’s the difference between Anwar Ibrahim and Mahathir Mohamad. Anwar was reckless and quite incompetent for believing an Indonesian leader could be relied upon. Mahathir, on the other hand, is a pragmatic and brilliant strategist who is always two steps ahead of his enemies. A rejection of Najib’s legitimacy would be a huge embarrassment to the crook.


Chandra Muzaffar: Mahathir Mohamad and Anwar Ibrahim sidelined Rukunegara

January 30, 2018

Chandra Muzaffar: Mahathir Mohamad and Anwar Ibrahim sidelined Rukunegara

Image result for mahathir and anwar
Dr. Mahathir  Mohamad and his Deputy Anwar Ibrahim before Sodomy 1 (1998)


(Berita Daily) – Former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad sidelined Rukunegara due to his rivalry with former Home Minister Ghazali Shafie, revealed 1Malaysia Foundation chairman Chandra Muzaffar today (Jan 28).

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“Mahathir deliberately ignored Rukunegara. There is not a single speech of his that emphasised on the importance of Rukunegara,” said Chandra at G25’s session on moderation and administration of Islam in Malaysia.

“The subcommittee on Rukunegara was led by Ghazali Shafie and we all know the rivalry of Mahathir with Ghazali. It was real. Dr Mahathir’s political secretary was arrested by the order of then Home Minister Ghazali Shafie,” he said.

Image result for pakatan harapanTogether again in Pakatan Harapan–A Political Arrangement of Convenience


“It is a tragedy because Rukunegara is a national philosophy.” Chandra also noted that Mahathir had a certain ideological understanding and perception of Islam. “He brought the young Islamist, Anwar Ibrahim. That’s why there is an International Islamic University. He did not want the Rukunegara in the way.

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Chandra added Mahathir also introduced Vision 2020 as a way to permanently keep the Rukunegara on the sidelines. “On February 1991, Mahathir came out with Vision 2020, effectively sidelining Rukunegara. Five out of nine challenges in Vision 2020 are related to Rukunegara.He wanted something that made his mark,” he said.

As for Anwar’s reluctance on Rukunegara, Chandra said: “He had a certain view of Islam related to Jamaat Islam similar to Muslim Brotherhood. He saw Rukunegara as a barrier to an Islamic order.”

Aside from the two politicians, changing environment also did not make it attractive for Muslims to push for Rukunegara even though the principles did not go against the principles of Islam, Chandra said.

“In the 1970s and 1980s there was rapid urbanisation and Malays in urban areas were conscious of their identity. The Islamic ethos began and Rukunegara did not fit in.”

As for non-Muslims, there were other factors that made Rukunegara not attractive, said Chandra.

“For non-Muslims, they didn’t see it as critical even though the principles are universal and inclusive. There is nothing concrete that can be identified like when you look in the constitution,” he said in reference to articles 152 and 153. For their politicians, their issues and concerns are of their respective ethnic communities,” said Chandra.