SHAH ALAM: Leadership is not rocket science, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad tells more than 1,000 student leaders today.
He remarked that retaining ideals and upholding noble values will mould youths into good leaders.
The Langkawi member of Parliament said leadership is a lifelong task of learning and experience.
Dr Mahathir said as much as he wants youths to be competitive and inculcate themselves with capabilities to take on the rest of the world, it is not about dollars and cents, profits and losses or bottom lines.
“Firstly, a leader must have integrity and honesty, without them, a leader would be corrupt and untrustworthy.
“Next, a leader must be willing to work hard and to have pride in their work.
“Apart from that, a leader must have the hunger for knowledge and be aware of the changes around him,” said the 94-year-old.
The Prime Minister said this was especially true when leaders were faced with technological advancements and the disruptions they cause.
“If a leader is oblivious to these changes, they will not be able to impress upon the nation on the need to keep abreast of the latest advancements. The nation would lag behind and eventually become backwards,” he said.
Dr Mahathir said this in his speech at the launch of the 2019 10th University Scholars Leadership Symposium at Setia City Convention Centre, here.
Also present were Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik, his deputy Teo Nie Ching and Humanitarian Affairs Asia secretary-general Kim Solomon.
Another value that was probably underrated Dr Mahathir said was humility, as without it, a leader would be driven by ego.
“Being humble does not make a leader weak. Instead it binds him with the people, those who supported him and makes him their leader. If a leader loses touch with his people and supporters, he ceases to be a leader.
“Suffice to say, all the values that had been impressed in our religion, culture and custom will keep a leader’s feet firmly planted on the ground.
“A leader should lead not just by mere words but more effectively through example. Being a good leader is not only about being intelligent but one needs to know and have the ability to differentiate between right and wrong, good and evil,” said Dr Mahathir.
Dr Mahathir also said that Malaysia was also faced with threats of disunity in the past due to setbacks and attempts by bigots and zealots.
“It is to divide and undermine our unity and common objectives but Alhamdulillah, we have prevailed and we are able to stay on course to showcase a nation that is united in its diversity.”