Archive for the ‘Leadership and Management.’ Category

Honing leadership skills

Sunday, March 15th, 2020

(Back row, from left): Puviarasu a/l Setra Rasu, Wong Zi Hao and Kavita Senaratna. (Front row, from left): Mun Chun Kit and Lue Wan Min.

IT is an age-old belief that commitment and discipline entail success. More often than not, most successful individuals have these attributes.

While Nilai University offers several types of scholarships for students who commit and strive to excel academically, the Department of Student Affairs also started a scholars club – a common ground for all scholars to be groomed as future leaders in their respective communities.

The think-tank of Scholars Club

Although from different backgrounds, Wong Zi Hao, Puviarasu Setra Rasu and Kavita Senaratna are all recipients of Nilai University scholarship, and they are committee members of the Scholars Club.

Currently, the trio are pursuing different programmes – Diploma in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering and Bachelor of Science (Hon) in Biotechnology.

Wong, a Year Two Diploma in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering student, is the current president of the Scholars Club. As he commits to doing his bit for the community here, he has participated in several events organised by the university. Being the new president, he plans to organise more activities with his committee members.

“As a scholar, I have the privilege to tutor my course mates, so I suggested we could study together. When they pass or do well academically, I feel happy to have contributed and helped them achieve their desired grades. I must admit though, it helps me focus on my studies too, ” shared Wong.

Puviarasu, a sophomore student in Bachelor of Science (Hon) in Biotechnology, has taken up the role of orientation counsellor. As he progressed from foundation to degree, the role he undertook expanded to eventually becoming a team lead. This taught him leadership, time management and sharpened his communication skills.

Also, he held roles such as the security and safety head for the 2018 FunRun.

Kavita, from Sri Lanka, is also pursuing her Diploma in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering and holds the position of project manager. She helps coordinate between scholars and other event organisers in organising main events. Her capacity allows her to explore and recognise her ability in managing expectations between her fellow scholars and event organisers.

“I stumbled upon Nilai University’s Aircraft Engineering programmes on the Kingston University website as Nilai University offers a top-up programme with Kingston University, ” said Kavita.

More scholars

Another scholarship recipient is Chan Jia Zian, also pursuing the Diploma in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering. At an Education Fair in Kuala Lumpur, he made a beeline to Nilai University’s booth.

“The Diploma of Aircraft Maintenance Engineering offered by Nilai University is affordable. Furthermore, the programme incorporates the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Part 66 Category B1 and B2 syllabi in its programmes, ” explained Chan.

“Also, at Nilai University, I took up roles to organise events. I was exposed to handling a large crowd and had to think on my feet about the flow of communication to deliver some instructions precisely. These opportunities served as a platform for me to discover my unique communication style.”

Abi Roshinee Kamalan received the High Achievers’ Scholarship (HAS) while pursuing the Foundation in Science and with her outstanding academic achievement.

Nilai University offered her the same scholarship to pursue her Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Accounting and Finance, which she selected as this qualification would lead to a stable career.

Tan Min Shen, on the other hand, received the Merit Scholarship. He has always had a curious mind. In his late teens, he completed a project on the Bernoulli’s Principle, which intensified his interest in aeroplanes.

From front: Abi Roshinee Kamalan, Chan Jia Zian and Tan Min Shen

From front: Abi Roshinee Kamalan, Chan Jia Zian and Tan Min Shen

Six types of scholarships

The list of scholars goes on, and each gifted student will have an equal footing to achieve his dreams. The HAS and Merit Scholarships are awarded to students who have scored well in their SPM, STPM, UEC and other relevant tertiary exams.

1) High Achievers’ Scholarship (HAS)

Under HAS, local Malaysian students with outstanding results of 9As in SPM or 3As in STPM or other equivalently excellent results in UEC, IGSE/O-Level, A-Levels, SAM/HSC/AUSMAT, ICPU and IB will be eligible for up to 100% waiver in tuition fees. HAS is available for all foundation and degree programmes, but students should maintain their results (CGPA ≥3.50) and attendance (≥75% for all programmes except the Nursing programme which requires an attendance of ≥ 90%) to be eligible for continuing the scholarship next semester.

2) Merit Scholarship

The Merit Scholarship is based solely on academic results. Students who have scored more than 4As in their SPM, from ‘2Bs and one A’ in their A-Levels, a minimum CGPA of 3.00 in their STPM and 4As in UEC will receive a partial tuition fee waiver of 20% or more for the foundation, diploma and degree programmes at Nilai University. To continue receiving this scholarship, scholars should maintain a CGPA of more than 2.75% and an attendance of more than 75% (Other programmes) or 90% (Nursing programme) every semester.

Another four types of scholarships are awarded to students who exhibit leadership skills or are gifted athletes:

-Sports Focus Centre – Fencing Award

-Extra-Curriculum and Sports Excellence Award (ECSEA)

-Enrichment for Life Award (EFL)

-Education for All (EFA)

The quantum of tuition fee waivers and terms varies according to the scholarship offered. Nilai University has dedicated all weekends in March for students and parents who are keen to consult the educational counsellors on the requirements and application process for these scholarships.

Nilai University – Higher education within means

Nilai University offers recognised programmes with five levels of qualification, kicking off with a foundation in business and science, subsequently progressing to a diploma, degree, masters and the highest achievement–a doctorate. The faculties offer specialised programmes in various fields of study.

Some of its specialised programmes in biotech and hospitality management incorporate business elements as core courses. Students will gain a sound understanding of the competitive business environment in the specialised fields of biotech and hospitality management, respectively.

More so, Nilai University has carved a name for itself within the aviation industry. The academic pathway for its established programme in aircraft maintenance engineering allows students to complete the Advanced Diploma in Aircraft Engineering Technology with a top-up degree, Bachelor Engineering (Hons) Aircraft Engineering from Kingston University, in the United Kingdom, within three and a half years.

Nilai University – Green campus is just 15 minutes’ drive from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Besides being easily accessible and well connected, the 1.05 ha (105-acre) campus is surrounded by pristine nature.

“The campus is peaceful and there are a lot of amenities nearby, such as a mini theatre, sports complex and retail mall. Furthermore, my course lecturers are approachable, ” said Abi.

M’sia needs strong leadership badly

Tuesday, January 21st, 2020
Malaysian leadership has lost focus for many years now but our political leaders have chosen to ignore it. The result? The 2020 “Malaysian dream” for 1st world status has been shattered and lost in the wilderness. It is now 2030 but we are no better off than 5 or 10 years ago.

Unless political leaders can wake up from the dangers of “race and religion”, our country will stagnate in middle income or possibly worse, regress back into 3rd world like some African countries. Even some African countries are awake and are beginning to roar with Chinese assistance. The Asian Tigers [Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea] have left us far behind in their dusts. They are now much better off than us in income, standard of living and almost every economic and social endeavours. Vietnam, the late comer kid, will overtake us like Ferrari vs Proton Saga soon.

Weak leadership is causing Malaysia’s lack of economic progress.

Becoming an Asian Tiger was our much-heralded ambition, but our leaders have lost direction and will power.

This Vision 2020 has been blinded by ineffectual “political cataract” in both eyes. How about Government Transformation Programme? This was born dead.

Though GTP was an excellent concept and would have elevated Malaysia into 1st world status, weak, aimless and amoral leadership was subsumed by greed/corruption. Is there hope for New Malaysia and Shared Prosperity 2030? Like the old saying, “once bitten twice shy”, we are into the 3rdh time of being bitten, not twice as New Malaysia is fading fast. Shared Prosperity 2030 would not become our 4th time being bitten. Things just cannot improve in Malaysia. Political leaders playing “race and political” game, are preventing Malaysia from achieving 1st world economic progress and destroying our dream of better lives.

Weak leadership and our PETRO$$$$$?

What have these countries in common—-Norway, Qatar, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait? Excellent Management of Petrowealth. Norway tops the world’s best managed sovereign wealth from oil revenue. Why does midget Brunei have a larger sovereign fund and 2 2 times larger GDP per capita than Malaysia? Why Malaysia is below par with Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, all of which have no petro$$$, little or no natural resources? Why the citizens of these countries can enjoy much better standard living than Malaysians? The answer is simple—Their citizens are blessed with superior economic leadership.

From day 1 when Malaysia has discovered oil till now—-our revenue/profit from oil must have been in the trillions. When oil prices were sky high, Petronas’ annual profits were more than RM100 billion. Where are all these petro$$$ windfalls? What has happened to them? Why leaders of previous BN and PH governments are reluctant and/or have no courage to investigate how Petro$$$ have been used.

Sabah has produced oil and gas for more than 30 years. Why is Sabah still one of the worst-off states? Why are so many Sabahans still living below poverty line? Why so many Sabahans have migrated to KL, Singapore and Johore to seek jobs and better salary? All these are manifestations of poor, very poor economic leadership.

Weak leadership and chance of better future economic performance?

History is a great teacher. Projecting into the future, I have grave doubt that Malaysia’s economic performance will experience dramatic improvement or can catch up with our erstwhile Asian Tiger cousins. Tun M has said Malaysia can be an Asia Tiger again. Likely we shall remain a kitten with stunted growth, unable to realise our full potentials.

Weak leadership in PH government.

The pre GE14 PH coalition that the voters have elected into government has morphed into a different animal. Most glaringly, it has forgotten that Malaysians have given support PH on a non-racial/religious platform. Its platform was on good governance, better economic management, inclusive policies and stronger economic performance. Unfortunately, it has fallen head over heels into the opposition’s race/religion trap. To brush up its race/religion credentials, the PH government has tumbled below par on being unable to produce meaningful economic policies that can put Malaysia on to the path of achieving Asian Tiger status.

Many PH ministers lack quality leadership as is obvious from the lack of definitive models/policies at the respective ministries, their embarrassing U turns announcements, neither here nor there “may-be” or “may consider” statements without follow proper ups. Quite amateurish!

Unable to appoint a new minister of education is very worrying. It cannot make sense for 94 year Tun M to take on the huge education ministry without sacrificing his focus on bigger national issues.

Weak leadership and Malaysia’s present political ambience.

Because of its unfocused leadership the PH government has been found wanting in its ability to change the attitude of bumiputras from economic/financial dependency to self-independency. It lacks political courage to convert the vast majority of bumiputra to face economic reality of competitiveness, hard work and necessity of saving.

Instead, it has embarked on an easy way out by continuing the “bantuan” policy of the previous government, albeit under different slogans. Its implicit condone of race supremacy, demand for dignity, birth rights to economic opportunities and not having to compete or work for it will continue to make Malaysia an economic laggard. So long as it refuses to face the fact that no country can achieve economic greatness without recognising basic economic realities, Malaysia will remain an economic kitten—-never an Asian Tiger.

The PH government has exhibited little political leadership and courage to change the present toxic political ambience. It has become a follower to opposition’s brand of race/religion politics. Sad, very sad indeed.

Weak leadership and fondness of shifting blame.

Strong, trustworthy leadership can lead the people to achieve strong economic performance by appropriate motivation, supported by a strong economic direction, fair policies and equitable distribution of wealth. Malaysian leaders have failed badly in this respect due to corruption, self-interest, cronyism and ineffective implementation. The leaders have no moral high ground to admit their failures. To shield themselves from political back lash from their own supporters, they have to use the bogeymen of blames on others to justify their own leadership failures. And encourage them to demand for more privileges under the pretext of enabling to catch up.

Weak leadership and quality of education.

It is in education that the worst type of weak leadership can be seen in the previous and present government. [a] Failure to recognize meritocracy has produced a whole bunch of mediocratic academics who can only churn out poorly qualitied graduates and a very large pool of unemployable and unemployed graduates.

Then put the blame on employers for refusing to employ them. [b] Fondness for quantity and failure to produce quality has produced square peg graduates for round holes in the economy. UPM [University Putra Malaysia] was very proud to produce at one time 632 PHd graduates which must be the largest in the world and which has attracted nothing but ridicules. UPM has become a joke. Sad to say, UPM is deluding in pride of this laughable PHd numbers!

Without competition and meritocracy, the Malaysian education system can never produce world class innovation.

Malaysia’s present education model will never equip Malaysians to achieve economic greatness.

The PH government has an unique opportunity to overhaul the poor education system but has failed to do so up to now. It cannot even implement teaching of maths and science in English which is T M’s favourite objective.

Malaysia in urgent need of fresh, strong leadership. It is quite easy to see weak leadership that has enveloped Malaysia inside a jumbled up, aimless economic model. Too many Malaysians, especially those wanting more privileges and bantuan, are being trapped and unable to escape.

All the talks of becoming Asian Tiger again, race supremacy and demands for economic dignity are just hot air. There must be strong leaders who can lead Malaysians to do away with all these economic ills and superfluous stuffs. They must roll up their sleeves, go for hard work and in education, learn the difficult stuff like maths, science, engineering and technology, adopt strong values of honesty, self-discipline, self-reflections and acceptance of all races/religions.

Let me reiterate—-the PH government is a not a bad government. All that it needs to do is—-

[a] Put its act together.

[b] Select ministers with genuine capabilities. PH’s good talents are being ignored.

[c] PH component parties must settle down and stop trying to out manoeuvre each other.

[d] Be leaders of all Malaysians.

[e] Small boy should not pick fights with giants like India and China—-bound to get the nose bloody.

[f] Most importantly, fulfil your GE14 promises if you want to win GE15.

By: Datuk John Lo

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Of Malaysia’s leaders past, present and future

Monday, December 23rd, 2019

SOCIETIES require leaders. Leaders lead in many ways, some good and some bad.

Pope Francis leads by example, and by doing so, he has restored the faith of the faithful.

Hitler led with lies and hate – it almost destroyed the world.

Ronald Reagan led with robust yet straightforward oratory. In tragedy and triumph, he restored America’s pre-eminence.

Boris Johnson leads by assiduously cultivating a bumbling everyday personality that masks a ruthless political instinct and ambition. He just won his party a resounding majority in the United Kingdom’s Parliament.

It has been a tough 18 months for Malaysians.

After a historic change of government in May 2018, the promised rupture with the past and renewal has been absent.

It is more of the same – politicking, race-baiting, broken promises and failing leaders.

The stratospheric promises made by the current government to overthrow the previous one is not helping it, and there is a general lack of direction and internecine intra-party wars confronting the ruling coalition.

Malaysians, for better or worse, are used to stability. We are not accustomed to the messiness that comes with more democracy, but I guess we have to get used to it as it is the new normal.

Now back to our leaders.

Our past leader, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, is defending himself against allegations that he ordered the murder of Mongolian national, Altantuya.

Despite the trial of the convicted killers of Altantuya running the entire gamut of our legal system, one of the sentenced men managed to swear a statutory declaration while on death row (a rare feat indeed), making these explosive claims.

Najib has seized the initiative by swearing in a mosque that he had nothing to do with the murder.

Some have argued that “dead men” tell no lies, but in Malaysia, that may not always be the case especially with the institutionalised system of quid-pro-quo.

Tun Dr Mahathir had a very tough couple of weeks.

As our present leader finds himself in the middle of a prestige battle with Saudi Arabia as the Kuala Lumpur Islamic Summit fell flat after the King of Saudi Arabia complained that the KL Summit seeks to usurp the role of the Organisation of Islamic Conference.

The Prime Minister of Pakistan (a self-confessed superfan of Dr Mahathir) cancelled his RSVP to the KL Summit, clearly at the behest of Saudi Arabia as it is no secret that Pakistan is a modern-day vassal state to Saudi Arabia and depends tremendously on Saudi good will.

This is a far cry from the height the respect and admiration Dr Nahathir enjoyed in the past as was last seen at the last Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit in 2003.

A redemption of sorts for Dr Mahathir may come with the APEC Summit in 2020 that will be hosted by Malaysia.

But given his habit of offending large powers, like remarking that the impeachment of President Donald Trump is probably justified and wading into India’s internal affairs by commenting on its controversial citizenship law, APEC 2020 may see thin attendance.

Our future leader also finds himself in another imbroglio.

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim confronts a third allegation of sexual impropriety. A former aide has accused Anwar, in vivid detail, of sexual harassment and assault.

I, for one, do not believe this fantasy. I mean enough is enough. After all that has happened these 20 years, I would think that Anwar’s detractors would have improvised their playbook. I hope the police conclude their investigations fast and properly exonerate Anwar.

There is no question of political interference like in the past because this time Anwar’s party have leaders the government and there should be no “fix” as it was alleged previously.

Further, the ghost of APEC 1998 took place not long Anwar was sacked and arrested. Now, the grapevine believes that Anwar will only assume the mantle of leadership after APEC.

Not to forget, Anwar’s sacking in 1998 was preceded by the publication of a salacious book called “50 reasons why Anwar cannot be PM”, and now as the nation expects a transition of power from Dr Mahathir to Anwar, there are the Yusoff Rawther allegations of sexual misconduct.

As I have said, the Anwar haters need a new script.

Compounding Anwar’s problems, his deputy and a few other leaders have “gone rogue.”

Upset by Anwar’s use of a Malay fable on loyalty during his opening address at the PKR Congress recently, Datuk Seri Azmin Ali and his supporters bolted from the Congress. Later, they had a show of force, at a separate venue, with one of the highlights being who went to jail first in 1998 while forgetting that history may repeat itself.

As these political parlour games engulf Pakatan Harapan, many are looking to DAP to provide some stability. But due to the widespread perception that it holds the levers of powers and exude undue influence over the government, they have chosen to stay silent.

So, what do we make of our leaders’ past, present and future?

It is testimony to the sad state of affairs we find ourselves in.

However, it is a historic opportunity for Malaysians to move beyond these leaders and look to the future. We must not hero-worship our leaders, and neither should we be overly forgiving and indulge their failings. This is a mistake I once made, which I now sorely regret.

We must be critical and hold them accountable – at all times.

We need a leader who can provide an injection of hope, oratory, vision and gravitas required to restore our country. Malaysia needs someone who can help her move on from the past and chart a new course – one that is progressive, gentle, just and equitable.

As this is my last column for 2019, thank you for all the comments I have received, most of them constructive. I will do my best to write it as I see it.

By Ivanpal Singh Grewal.

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‘Students must have excellent leadership skills’

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2019

KOTA KINABALU: Students, especially those given the responsibility as a Children Representative Council (MPKK), must have excellent leadership skills.

Health and People’s Wellbeing Assistant Minister Norazlinah Arif said among the attributes that the students must have in order to become great leaders is an ability to polish their strength and improve from weaknesses.

“Students must also be strong-hearted when it comes to listening to negative feedbacks. Never be too emotional when you are criticised,” she said during the closing ceremony of the Advocacy and Self-Improvement programme held at Ming Garden Hotel yesterday.

She also said that the students must gain as much knowledge as possible and not just stay at where they are the most comfortable.

“Students must also take their responsibility very seriously because they must bear the consequences to their actions.

“These must be instilled within yourselves because you are the one that decides what’s best for you,” she asserted.

Some 56 students from 28 districts in Sabah have been elected as the representative councils for the session of 2019-2021 to assist the welfare department to identify issues involving children in their districts.

According to Ponniya Irham from the Sabah Social Welfare Department said that the MPKKs educate the children on their rights that are protected under the government.

“They help identify problems faced by the children because most of the time, these children prefer to talk to someone who is the same age as they are,” she added.


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Climate leadership, clean growth crucial for survival

Wednesday, May 15th, 2019
Malaysia is embarking on an ambitious renewable energy generation target — to grow the share to 20 per cent by 2025. An example is the net energy metering programme, to catalyse and scale up renewable energy growth. – Reuters

THIS month the United Kingdom Parliament declared an environment and climate emergency. Many countries are following the UK’s lead.

The United Nations says we could have just 11 years left to limit a climate change catastrophe, and that a million species are at threat of extinction due to human activity. We are eroding our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide and need to make rapid, transformational change. Young people around the globe are rightly calling on governments to do more — act now to prevent disaster later.

That’s why I’ve come to Kuala Lumpur this week. I want to build a strong partnership between the UK and Malaysia on tackling climate change. We have a responsibility to allow our children to live in a world not irreversibly damaged by human activity. All countries must work together to make our economies cleaner and greener — now and for future generations.

I know that people in Malaysia have voiced out their concern over the impact of climate change to which they are particularly vulnerable. A two degree temperature rise — likely if we do not scale back carbon emissions urgently — would increase the frequency and intensity of extreme weathers in Malaysia, which include major flash floods in cities. If the high emission scenario continues, and without large investments in adaptation, an annual average of 234,500 Malaysians are projected to be affected by flooding due to a rise in sea levels between 2070 and 2100.

What can we do? A large part of the answer is to reduce carbon emissions by investing rapidly in green growth. Clean and sustainable energy, transport, agriculture and industry means cheaper energy, more and better jobs, cleaner air, better health and nutrition, more liveable towns and cities and an enriched natural environment. The UK, as a climate leader, has reduced emissions by 43 per cent since 1990, while growing the British economy by two thirds. We are determined to speed this process up further — the UK’s independent Climate Change Commission recommended this month that the UK legislate now to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, which would make us the first major economy to pass laws to end our contribution to global warming entirely.

All our unabated coal-fired power stations will close by 2025, and just last week the UK announced that it had gone for over a week without using any coal to generate power. That’s a good feeling. Yet only seven years ago, coal produced 40 per cent of the UK’s power. With an ambitious clean growth strategy and strong investment in and commitment to renewables, transformational change is possible and economically fruitful. It is win-win for the climate and for the economy.

The International Renewable Energy Agency estimates that renewable energy will be cheaper than unsubsidised fossil fuels everywhere in the world by 2020. Offshore wind in the UK (40 per cent of the world’s total) is already cheaper than coal, nuclear power and gas. India is investing heavily in solar and wind — from 50 gigawatts to 225 gigawatts in the next four years. South Africa and Chile have successfully pivoted away from coal.

I know that Malaysia is embarking on an ambitious renewable energy (RE) generation target — to grow the share to 20 per cent by 2025. In addition, the new government is also ramping up energy efficiency in public sector buildings, undertaking a holistic electricity market reform; and tabling a new bill in Parliament on Energy Efficiency and Conservation by this year.

Malaysia is increasingly recognising its own huge potential for renewables, particularly solar (much better than the UK), biogas and biomass, though its renewable energy targets which would help meet its 4.8 per cent annual electricity demand growth, provide economic opportunities and growth.

Growing the RE portfolio in the energy mix would help Malaysia make that transition of unlocking the country into a negative long term trend for emissions,  financial instability through stranded fossil fuel assets, and declining health (coal-fired power contributes to around eight million premature deaths globally each year, primarily in Asia).

During my visit to Malaysia, I will be discussing how the UK’s expertise and support can encourage Malaysia’s low carbon transition through our various joint partnership programmes. I am keen to offer the UK’s expertise in legislation and policy making, institutional framework set-ups, mitigation measures, addressing climate risk, our global leadership on renewable energy generation, low emission/electric vehicle technology and as a global centre for green finance (City of London). And our Prosperity Fund Asean Low Carbon Energy Programme will invest in growing Malaysia’s capacity to access the green finance needed for transformational change.

At the international level, I hope the UK and Malaysia can collaborate towards ambitious UN climate talks in Chile this year and particularly in 2020, when I am lobbying for Britain to host the talks. Such a partnership could help energise this region, and the world to address the scale and urgency of the climate challenge we face. We must invest in climate leadership and clean growth — for the sake of our children and future generations.

By Nick Bridge.

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World recognises Dr Mahathir’s influence, leadership quality

Sunday, May 12th, 2019
In just a year of his tenure as Malaysia’s seventh prime minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has been recognised as one of the world’s most influential men. (NSTP/AHMAD IRHAM MOHD NOOR)

KUALA LUMPUR: In just a year of his tenure as Malaysia’s seventh prime minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has been recognised as one of the world’s most influential men.

In fact, earlier in January, he was named the Muslim Man of the Year by The Muslim 500, a ranking of the world’s 500 most influential Muslims.

In April, Dr Mahathir was ranked among the 100 most influential individuals in the world for the year 2019 by international news magazine ‘Time’.

And earlier this month, international portal,, ranked Dr Mahathir 47th in its ‘World’s 50 Greatest Leaders’ list.

The three publications described Dr Mahathir, 93, as an extraordinary man for leading the coalition of (formerly) opposition parties, Pakatan Harapan, to win the 14th general election in May last year and for being re-elected as Malaysia’s prime minister.


As the oldest prime minister in the world, many know Dr Mahathir as a bold and vocal leader, always stands firm in his decision, trustworthy and has a high level of discipline, especially in terms of punctuality.

With a modest and tranquil look, Dr Mahathir is highly respected by many and regarded as a credible leader with a sharp mind and who is not afraid of giving or receiving criticism.

In his speech at the 73rd United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York on Sept 29 last year, Dr Mahathir made a bold call for a reform of the world body and suggested that a veto should not be by just one permanent member but by at least two and backed by three non-permanent members of the UN Security Council.

He also captured the world’s attention when he condemned the Myanmar government for the massacre of Rohingyas in Rakhine, and Israel for breaking international laws and moral codes.

In November last year, Dr Mahathir was also conferred the “Grand Cordon of the Order of the Paulownia Flowers” by Emperor Akihito of Japan.

The conferment of Japan’s highest award followed the contributions by the Prime Minister in strengthening the bilateral ties between Malaysia and Japan.


Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) Faculty of Modern Language and Communication lecturer Dr Syed Agil Alsagoff said Dr Mahathir was recognised as a credible leader as his thoughts and ideas had been appreciated and praised by many world leaders

The premier, who had also held the chair of the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC), had formulated various strategies for the unification of Arab nations to break away from the influence of the United States and Israel.

“His criticisms of the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, had also encouraged and motivated the Arab nations to support his leadership and recognised him as a respected world leader.

“Dr Mahathir’s success in transforming Malaysia from a third world country into a developing country also attracted the West Asian countries to emulate his political leadership. In fact, East Asian countries have also made him an exemplary model in their economic and political empowerment,” he said.

Syed Agil said Dr Mahathir was also regarded as a Muslim statesman who transformed Malaysia into a model for the Muslim world and would always be remembered as a Malaysian leader who had channeled various assistance to Bosnia and Herzegovina to rebuild itself after the Balkan country was involved in a war in the 1990s.

Dr Mahathir’s success in bringing together both the third world and the developing countries through the Langkawi International Dialogue (LID) consultative council and in becoming the driving force behind the cooperation between those third worlds and the Islamic countries through the OIC has made him a highly respected and exceptional leader in the international political arena, he said.

According to Universiti Utara Malaysia lecturer in politics and international relations Prof Dr Azizuddin Mohd Sani, Dr Mahathir had been consistent in championing world issues including those involving the Palestinians, the Rohingyas as well as developing or underdeveloped countries.

As a man who despises brutality, he said Dr Mahathir had established the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal to ‘put on trial’ leaders of the countries involved in Iraq war in 2003 which had claimed the lives of 1.4 million civilians.

“He is also anti-race assassination. That is why when his bid to ratify the Rome Statute failed, he got so angry at those who caused the failure.

“By his boldness in voicing out his opinions, we can see that Dr Mahathir obviously wants Malaysia to continue being the Asian Tiger who is not afraid of voicing out global issues,” he said.

At the same time, he said West Asian leaders continued looking up to Dr Mahathir to the extent of regarding him as their ‘voice’ in fighting Western oppression.


Dr Mahathir is also well-known as a dedicated, principled prime minister and always making reforms and transformation in the country’s administration.

Syed Agil said it had ‘opened the eyes’ of other countries to emulate Malaysia, especially after it was able to make political transformation under the leadership of a former prime minister appointed for the second time to hold the highest political office.

“Dr Mahathir is regarded as the driving force of reforms and transformation in the country’s administration since the first time he was appointed as prime minister and held the post for 22 years.

“The nature of Dr Mahathir’s simplicity in observing political culture with the interests of the people during that period caused the people to be moved by his determination in transforming Malaysia from a third world country into a successful developing country,” he said.

Dr Mahathir has also been regarded as a visionary leader who could steer the country to progress further in economic and social areas.

During his tenure as Malaysia’s fourth prime minister from 1981 to 2003, Malaysia experienced excellent transformation, particularly in infrastructure and socioeconomic development, hence spurred the success of the country in becoming a regional economic power and in facing several global financial crises.

Syed Agil was also in the opinion that the seriousness of Dr Mahathir’s ideas and thoughts in terms of national and economic development especially when liberating Malaysia from the 1997-1998 economic crisis by fixing of the ringgit peg to the US dollar, had prompted many other countries to seek his advice.

Whereas Azizuddin believed that Dr Mahathir was re-elected to lead the government as the people wanted Malaysia to become a prosperous country.

“His vast experience is badly needed. Malaysians respect him as a great statesman.

By Bernama.

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10 Principles of 21st Century Leadership.

Sunday, February 24th, 2019

This month, Adam Cairns the CEO of Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and Honorary Visiting Professor, Cardiff University Medical School, Cardiff UK talks about the leadership challenges we face in the 21st century.

The Leadership Challenge:

The leadership challenge is changing – and so leaders must allow their thoughts to evolve.

Here are ten provocations to nudge your thinking into some new places.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. – Martin Luther King, Jr.CLICK TO TWEET

Optimism Not Pessimism:

Our mindset governs how we see the world. As the pace of change accelerates, ask yourself whether your instinctive, below the waterline response to this is to worry that you’re going to get left behind. Relentless change can cause the best of use to question whether we will be able to keep up. Rather than worry however, take hold of the momentum which change brings –none of us can predict the future – but it will be fun finding out.

Receive and Send:

In the new reality of digital everything, we can engage anyone and everyone in a conversation on our terms. The exchange of information, views and ideas now happens instantaneously, whether we like it or not. By the time a service short-coming has impacted on a user of your services, the chances are the world is already hearing about it. Engage your audience, whether user, customer, patient or public and expect this to tell you more than you ever knew.

Questions Not Answers

Leaders should start asking some new questions. Instead of asking how to drive increased efficiency choose to ask what great would look like. Great isn’t usually more of the same, just faster. Great starts from a different place. It starts with an open not closed mindset – Henry Ford’s original customers said what they wanted was a faster horse. Ford had the genius to ask, how that was possible.

In-sourcing Not Outsourcing:

There are niches for every conceivable service or product. Today, you can buy a new logo design for $5 or appoint a virtual assistant for as little as $10 a job. Meanwhile your organisation can focus on what it and only it can do, while you outsource or automate anything that can be done faster, cheaper or is not critical to your core business. Competitive advantage can be built on the ability to narrow your focus. Consider the value that you alone can bring better than anyone else – and do that.

Upstream Not Downstream:

In the high mountains, springs, rainwater and snow-melt mingle to create little streams and brooks. By the time these have merged into a gigantic river pouring into the ocean they have become an unstoppable force. Healthcare needs to turn its gaze towards these highlands: the early years, maternal health, smoking, sugar, diet and exercise. Find the upstream in your business and intervene there. If we continue to intervene as the river pours into the ocean we will eventually and inevitably be swept out to sea.

Innovative Not Administrative

A leader can be in power or in office. If leaders fail to open the doors to experimentation, risk taking and entrepreneurship they are in office only and act as servant administrators to the current system – which is struggling to cope. The new generation of leader will create a climate where innovation is a standard operating principle. They will be in power and will use their influence to release the innovative potential of their employees.

Off Not On:

Managing our time and energy will be the new currency of leadership. What we choose to focus these two resources on will define what we get done. The edges of work and not work are becoming ever more blurred, and with it the hazard of burn-out and reduced productivity. Create a boundary between your work and home and make sure you have it well guarded.

Distributed Not Directed:

Leadership is like the power generation industry  – a central generator (purpose) provides energy to fuel the business mission. This energy is distributed to the point where it meets the business user or customer. Just as with power generation, leadership energy can be supplemented. There are many potential micro-generators in any business among the tens or hundreds of employees delivering on your behalf each day. 21st Century leaders don’t direct – they distribute their leadership effort, expecting to create fertile ground for the micro-generator to flourish.

Integrity Not Correctness:

Being right is not enough. To produce long-term commitment to a product, cause or ideal, leaders must act with integrity. For the modern leader, integrity can be measured in the wisdom of crowds. It is no longer possible to isolate leadership from the social context within which the business takes place. Whether it be with customer, clients, users or employees, leaders must show that integrity is not just a word on a page. You’ll soon hear if you don’t!

Learning Not Leading.

Finally, why not stop trying to lead from the front? In a rapidly changing world isn’t it more realistic to accept that leaders can’t know all that needs to be known? Allow yourself to learn by being curious and become practised at asking rich questions just because you are interested. Leading with humility* means you are likely to learn more and more often. The leader who learns more might also be someone who is more likely to succeed too.

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4 Proven Ways to Keep Your Team Engaged

Sunday, February 24th, 2019

Photo of team huddle.

Team Engagement

Team engagement is more than just a buzzword.  Companies large and small have learned the value of engaging employees and what they mean to both the profitability and longevity of the company.

Millions of dollars are spent every year to discover ways to keep employees engaged.  Part of their budget is spent on discovering and retaining team leaders who are successful in engaging team members. Gallup recently released new research that discovered that “disengaged” employees offer the greatest opportunity for businesses to improve their performance and profitability.

That’s where you come in!

Here are 4 proven ways to keep your team engaged regularly, resulting in employees who are motivated, work with passion, and achieve a purpose in their everyday tasks that gives them a profound connection to your company and their work.

Individual commitment to a group effort ― that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work. – Vince LombardiCLICK TO TWEET

Individual commitment to a group effort ― that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work. – Vince Lombardi

1. Keep Your Team the Main Focus:

Too often, team leaders view their own position as a way-point to something bigger or better and fail to invest time or effort in developing the team around them. You may have had your own bad experiences when your team leader was disengaged. As team leader, you need to keep your focus on employees.

Today’s team manager is more than just a “get the job done” role; the team leader is sensitive to the needs of the team and knows employee needs intimately. As leader, you need to know what is really going on within the team dynamic and be ready to advocate for them as issues arise. When your team really hits a home run, you need to be the first to deflect all the praise back to the team and show them how important they are to you and the company.

2. Increase Your Surface Area:

No one likes a leader who directs from behind closed doors. To really engage your team, you need to be touchable. The larger your team, the more difficult this aspect of leadership becomes, but nothing prevents you from visiting your team!

Some may manage remote teams. with today’s technological advancements, it’s much easier to make video conferencing a part of your weekly routine. Slammed with meetings all week? Use your commute time to connect with team members and check in on their progress with projects.

Use technology to your advantage when attempting to increase your surface area. Be as innovative as you can when it comes to staying accessible to your team. They’ll love you for it.

I think trust is primarily built through relationships, and it’s important because it’s the foundational currency that a leader has with his team or his followers. – Tom RathCLICK TO TWEET

I think trust is primarily built through relationships, and it’s important because it’s the foundational currency that a leader has with his team or his followers. – Tom Rath

3. Allow the Team to Lead:

As leaders, it’s our natural tendency to want to take “ownership” (control) of every situation in order to ensure things are done exactly as we think they should. But, this is counterproductive to team engagement.

If you hold back, possibly for fear of failure, and deny the team ownership of processes and tasks you end up robbing the team of the experiences — both good and bad — that connect them to the purpose of their work. The team needs opportunities to succeed (and fail) and these are integral to their professional growth.

Not only should everyone in your team have a place, they should also have a voice. When employees understand that they have a “say so”, you will unleash the highest level of innovative thinking within the group.

By giving your team opportunity to take charge of an outcome, you will gain their respect and inspire a passion for what they do.

4. Speak Clearly:

There is nothing more confusing to any employee than a manager communicating with ambiguity.

Without clear, succinct communication, your team will often be left feeling confused and disconnected. They need to know how their efforts contribute to the “big picture” on a regular basis and this message needs to be told in different ways many, many times.

When you feel like you’re saying the same thing over and over again, albeit in different ways, that’s when you know your team is beginning to hear what you have to say. The Rule of Seven is an old marketing strategy that states your prospect needs to hear your message at least seven times before they take action.

The same applies to your team. They need to hear you tell them how their work contributes to the big picture over and over until that sense of purpose begins to grow in their own hearts and minds.

by .

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9 Vital Ways to Inspire and Motivate Teams

Sunday, February 24th, 2019

To get results, leaders must inspire and motivate teams. How do you do that?

Let me be very clear. Your style of leadership affects both team and individual performance and the degree of engagement you realise.

So, how do you get the best of the team?

Stick with me and I’ll tell you. And, if you hadn’t guessed it’s so much more about the carrot than the stick!

Appreciation is thanking, recognition is seeing, and encouragement is bringing hope for the future.

Job satisfaction doesn’t have to be about financial reward. Indeed most people would say that being happy with their work starts when they know they are a valued part of the team.

That’s what gives them job satisfaction.

It’s about being appreciated and receiving constructive feedback on performance. Keeping employees motivated isn’t rocket science! But it’s not about spinning stories either. Honesty and tact are two leadership skills needed to inspire the team.

So, keep reading and I’ll share thirteen vital ways to inspire and motivate teams …

Leaders must learn new ways in which to inspire the team so individual team members stay motivated and engaged. It’s all too easy to forget to encourage and reward the team for the good work they do. Fail to so and you fail to keep the team motivated.

Motivation calls for common sense, so read on and see how well you fare at inspiring and motivating teams.

A leader shapes and shares a vision which gives point to the work of others – Charles Handy

Here are 9 vital ways to inspire and motivate teams.

  1. Keep yer promises. If you make promises, keep them! For example, if you say you’re going to do something about pay or working conditions make sure you do. Sometimes you may not have the positional power or authority to influence outcomes. So, make sure you don’t paint yourself into a corner you can’t get out of … avoid losing face and credibility.
  2. Don’t be a bear! Don’t coerce employees and demand the unreasonable. Don’t be a bully. Don’t micromanage!Rather, be brave, and generous with the trust you have in others. To grow the team you have to let them grow and mature in their judgement and skills. So, take pleasure in letting go and remember that when someone who works for you shines, you also shine.
  3. Rules are for a-breakin’. Rules are made for breaking! Well, sort of. Set clear standards and stick to them fairly, but don’t be overzealous about upholding them. Allow room to manoeuvre and give the team plenty of opportunity to challenge and change the status quo. What worked yesterday may not be right for today.
  4. Challenge ’em. Most people think they do a good job. Indeed most people come to work with the belief they are doing a good job. But routine leads to bad habits, complacency, and indolence. What should you do? Simple. Challenge ’em. Help them to grow and learn.
  5. Never settle for mediocrity. Following in the same vein, don’t settle for average. Rather, build a high performing team. And, if you’re going to do this, expect to lose some people along the journey. Therefore, place great importance on development reviews, objectives, goals, and one-to-one supervision. Goals provide challenges and opportunity for people … and the team … to excel. They also serve to evidence performance when expectations aren’t met. Nuff said?
  6. Get to know ’em. Know your team member’s personal goals, values and aspirations. So, pay attention to their lives inside and outside of work. Get to know them. And, don’t be fooled by those leadership writers who say you should stand aloof and not socialise with employees. They’re wrong! How can you inspire the team and keep them motivated if you don’t know what makes them tick?
  7. Have a little fun. Work … smile. Don’t take everything too seriously. But get the balance right. Celebrate successes, birthdays, or other remarkable events. Go for a curry once a month. Laugh about the latest football result. Moan about the latest football result. It really doesn’t matter. What does is building relationships and bonds, so people learn to depend upon and respect each other. The leader can’t make this happen, but he can make room for it.
  8. Challenge how people think. So, you want to improve team performance, and set realistic goals? Start with questions first. That’s right. It’s not your job to come up with all the answers. Let the team do the thinking for you! Effective business coaching is all about the questions. Helping people to think about their options and what they should do encourages self belief and self-development.
  9. Be creative. Creativity is a motivator. Give the team plenty of opportunity to solve problems. But remember this, if an idea isn’t used it serves no purpose and is a waste of time and energy. So, focus the team on real-world problems. Ask them to think about the possibilities rather than the limitations, and encourage feedback and suggestions.

If you hadn’t noticed, there’s a strong theme running through this list. It’s about leadership. It’s about showing the leið (road or way from Auld Norse.) That is, leadership is setting the direction.

by ).

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Why Self-Reflection Is the Key to Effective Leadership

Sunday, February 24th, 2019

The practice of self-awareness and self-reflection for those in leadership roles goes back thousands of years to the ancient philosophers and teachers. Yet, it seems that self-reflection is the manager’s least favourite pastime.

By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest. – Confucius

In this guest post by Jacqui Spencer we learn why self-refection is the key to effective leadership. If we are to improve our leadership skills, then it is important that we are aware of our strengths and weaknesses, our values and behaviours, and the ways in which we attempt to influence others. In other words, self-awareness and self-reflection is about learning to understand our leadership style.

Think you need a leadership coach? Read this first.

Self Reflection:

I was working with a senior leader recently in an attempt to help him adjust to working with his new CEO. It was an interesting assignment as it had gone from me being engaged to help him and his leadership team with a new strategic framework to a one-on-one reflection exercise.

I was particularly intrigued by the level of impact this new CEO appeared to have had on a leader I had known for a couple of years. This confident, self-directed, successful leader was asking questions that were very much focused on trust, relationships, engagement. But not on how he and his leadership team could drive the department forward with a sound strategy for future growth or what co-creation and collaboration would look like.

It became clear that this shift to a new CEO was creating some anxiety at very senior levels — not because there had never been a new CEO before but because this new CEO was asking different kinds of questions and my client was perhaps not in full blown self-doubt mode but had definitely embarked on that journey.

I suggested that now was a good time for self-reflection; that is, before he starts to think about moving forward perhaps he should glance backwards. I suggested the simple exercise of writing himself a letter, addressed to his younger self, just as he was starting out on his career path. The letter should give his younger self advice on how to be a great leader based on what he knows today.

This was probably not the best match between client and proposed solution as he struggled a little to understand what I was after, so I moved on to another idea which was a better match.

However on returning home I decided to find my “leadership reflection” letter that I had written when I was in a leadership position. I found it in my home office and I sat down and read it.

To me this remains the best exercise I ever did on personal reflection not because it demonstrated the power of memories but because it made me appreciate what it was like to be me and how lucky I was.

Even a number of years later it still had the same effect on me and so my advice to those of you somewhere on a leadership journey is take time out and write yourself a letter and every now and again read it because, trust me, it will be better than any one-on-one session you will have with a paid consultation or coach.

Here is mine — when you read it I hope you see what I mean.

Dear Jacqui,

Be authentic. Tell the truth and explain the WHY. Show yourself as being vulnerable at times so people see you as real and true.

Focus on leaving a legacy from the very start of your career. It will make you take the time to talk to people and if you start out wanting to be remembered then you will lead that way.You will screw up – admit it as quickly as you can.

Pick a leadership tool that you can relate to and stick with so you can use it wisely. Myers Briggs was the one tool I picked because it was not about competency but about preference and that’s a key difference people that work for you need to understand. It will help you know how best to lead.

Hire the right people — surround yourself with people that you can nurture or learn from. Make sure you also have an irritant. They will make you think differently and whilst working with them will take your energy and test your patience, the value they bring will be worth it.

Tell stories — about yourself in particular. When you share your own opinions, thoughts, fears, choices, challenges, failures and decisions and talk or write about it people will begin to see who you are and what you stand for – it makes you genuine.

Develop the next generation of leaders — mentor, guide, spend time with them. It will be the greatest investment you make. Don’t talk about it or boast about it. Over time the people will talk about you and that will gradually build a reputation for you that is much more meaningful. Find someone yourself who will give you tough messages and guide you. Listen to them.

Don’t take yourself too seriously and make sure fun and humour is part of work. People like to laugh and it’s good for your wellbeing so never forget to bring fun into the work place.

Empower people — do NOT micro manage. Delegate significant responsibilities not just things you don’t want to do. It will stretch and develop people around you and they will respect the fact you have trusted them. They will make you proud.

Engage widely with all members of groups you lead — not just your own direct reports. Ask everyone to contribute their thoughts on topics where you are the final decision maker; always make that point clear up front. Avoid hierarchical leadership at all times but balance it with a leadership presence that engages people to WANT to work for you.

Seek feedback on how you are doing and what you have done — don’t wait for your boss to do it.

write mid-year and end of year messages aimed at everyone in your group and don’t mention achievements, milestones or goals. Talk about what made you proud, what you would like to have done differently and show your appreciation. When someone tells you someone else has done something good then reach out to them to add your gratitude. A simple email or phone call is worth a lot with people.

Be visible. Go on walkabouts, have coffee, stop and talk — wherever you are. It’s where you will truly find out what is going on and what people are thinking or what is an issue. Make sure you listen, act and feedback.

Don’t break a promise. Deliver on your commitments. Drive for extraordinary results. Showcase the work your group does and give airtime to others to get the credit.

Be passionate about what you believe and live by your values — don’t look upwards for instructions or downwards for gratitude.

Remember this is your life and work is a part of it — get the balance right.

You’re about to have a ball so enjoy! I wish I could do it all again …


Understanding our strengths, weaknesses, talents and behaviours will help us to respond effectively in a range of leadership situations. Without self-awareness we dismantle confidence and trust.

So, self-awareness is the key to being a more effective leader.

by .

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