Leadership is a process whereby a person(leader) influences others(followers) to accomplish an objective and intend changes and outcomes which reflects their common purpose(Clark,2005). Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad is the fourth prime minister in Malaysia and his reign for 22 years made him the longest serving prime minister in Malaysia which also earned him the longest-serving leaders’ title in Asia. , Mahathir came from a generally modest background unlike his three predecessors known to all benevolently as “the Tunku”, princes of the Kedah royal family and all three received an education from England.
Mahathir’s dominant Big Five personality aspects that influenced his leadership style includes a high level of conscientiousness. He often shows self-discipline and is always aiming for achievement against the expected norm. M.Bakri(2003) reported that Mahathir made a big show of wearing a nametag and signing in for work every morning-always early, of course and this is denotative as only janitors and menial workers wore nametags in Malaysia. Throughout his 22 years of administration, Malaysia underwent an acceleration in economic growth and social changes that transformed the country from a perceived third world country to one with one of the most powerful socio-economic in South-East Asia and this shows that he is also high in openness. His ambitious and creative personality as a leader has brought the nation to witness his auspicious projects such as the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC), the new capital city Putrajaya and Malaysia’s very first sky scrappers, the Kuala Lumpur Tower and also the Petronas Twin Tower. As M.Bakri(2003) said, ”Mahathir has truly been, to use James McGregor Burns’ terminology, a transforming leader. The country’s physical transformation is obvious upon landing at the gleaming new international airport, driving along the smooth undulating freeways, or viewing the capital city’s impressive skyline.” Mahathir was an autocratic leader as he became more authoritarian towards his ruling years by consolidating his powers and eliminating political opponents through arrests and detention. He staved the supreme court as a source of opposition by altering the constitution to weaken the court’s power of review and forced resignation of several high-ranking members. Mahathir was believed to be the cause of Lord President of the Supreme Court, Salleh Abas’s dismissal. There were three other supreme court justices who were also removed from duty as they tried to block the misconduct hearings. He indirectly cemented his rule in part by weakening the judiciary, media and professional civil service that could have challenged him. Mahathir also deprived many of the privileges of the Royalty, which includes removing the royal veto and immunity from prosecution. Kuppuswamy(2000) mentioned that Mahathir resented institutional checks on his executive powers and was ruthless with those who opposed him. Mahathir is also an ethical leader for without him, Malaysia will not be what it is today. There are about two thirds of Malay population in Malaysia and a quarter Chinese and the rest Indians. The 1969 racial riot left hundreds dead and as Kuppusamy & Michael(2003) stated that the riots are still fresh in the peoples’ mind. The task of preventing it to repeat is mainly around the step of increasing the economic status of Malays remain a pivotal event in the country’s history has been Mahathir’s central preoccupation while in office. Mahathir is also a postconventional leader where he believes that extra measures has to be taken to maintain the racial harmony therefore, he did what he had to do by enforcing even stricter Internal Security act that is why his biggest achievement throughout his two-decade rule was maintaining racial harmony. Asides that, he also offered support during the global war against terrorism but he opposed the United States led invasion of Iraq in 2003. One of the contribution factors...
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