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JOHOR BARU: The Umno rank and file must rid themselves of hatred, jealousy and backstabbing to ensure a united front that can give the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition a comfortable win in the next general election, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.
“One may think of him or herself as the best candidate. But when they are not selected, these individuals could possibly cause hatred and get involved in backstabbing,” the former prime minister said.
Dr Mahathir said Umno members must be aware that the Opposition has been instigating hatred towards the ruling coalition, therefore it would be detrimental for Umno's performance if there was internal bickering.
He advised Umno members to focus on supporting the party's leaders because of their good deeds, but admitted there is never a "perfect leader".
“When I was the prime minister, I know not everyone liked me... so leaders must learn their surroundings and not just listen to what his friends tell him.
“No one will like someone totally," he said after the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia's Perdana Leadership Discussion event at the university's Sultan Iskandar Hall.
Earlier during his speech, Dr Mahathir said a good leader was one who could steer his team or those behind him for the greater good.
He said a good leader should not overstay his welcome as an elective representative, but cautioned any aspiring leader that it took more than a term to implement any substantial changes.
"Everyone wants to lead, but one becomes a leader only when the people behind him want him to lead them... so vote for someone who can lead you, not for the one who wants to be a leader for their own benefits".
Dr Mahathir also took questions from the 4,000-odd audience of students.
When asked if the current generation of students were ready to be ideal leaders by 2020, Dr Mahathir said he was not a clairvoyant who could predict the future.
However he added: “With the right attitude and values, they can, if they were not too busy stepping on pictures of leaders."
Dr Mahathir urged students to seek proper platforms via forums or discussion groups, and not resort to street demonstrations or vulgar acts to have their voices heard.
“It may not be as fun as compared to screaming on the streets. But students must sit in a forum and discuss, for their voices to be heard.”
Dr Mahathir said the younger generation were idealists, but without values they could never better themselves.
He said the generation born prior to Merdeka did not have the same education opportunities now, but they had values which had enabled the nation to prosper.
“Our children now have all the opportunities, it's just values that need to be fined tuned, to ensure Malaysia will further progress."
Also present at the forum was Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman, UTM vice-chancellor Professor Datuk Dr. Zaini Ujang and State Entrepreneur and Cooperatives Developmen, Education and Higher Education Committee chairman, Datuk Maulizan Bujang