IDEAS founder on good elites and bad elites

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KUALA LUMPUR: The background of a leader does not matter if he can provide quality leadership, says Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) founding president, Tunku Zain Al-Abidin Tuanku Muhriz.

The Negeri Sembilan prince said this could be seen when in the past, Malaysian institutions were better run despite being led by the elites of that time.

Speaking at a regional conference entitled “State of Democracy in Southeast Asia: Achievements, Challenges, Prospects”, Tunku Zain said that there are elites who abuse power to enrich themselves and those who do not.

He added that elites still have a role to play in democracies.

“If we were to look at history, I would think that … would agree that in our early years … we had institutions that were better,” he said.

He said it was important to differentiate between elites who care about democracy and those who abuse their positions.

“I think it’s very important to identify those elites who are abusing the instruments and machinery of the state to enrich themselves and others who don’t,” he added.