KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad today revealed two world leaders that he admires the most.
The first is Prophet Muhammad and the second Russian czar Peter the Great.
He said he admired the prophet for uniting all the Arab communities who were fighting themselves.
“Through his teachings, he united them and made them strong.”
Peter the Great, he said, changed the direction of Russia and made the country to be on a par with other successful European countries.
He said when Peter the Great took over, Russia was poor and the living conditions were bad.
Mahathir said even though he did not agree with the way Peter the Great killed and murdered the people, he had managed to change Russia through his leadership skills.
“He made the country powerful,” he told hundreds of youths at the Malaysia Future Leaders School 2020.
He told the future leaders, who had undergone leadership training, that a country needs brave leaders so that they could stand up to all the obstacles in their way.
Mahathir further said a good leader should be more confident than the followers “to face the challenges” ahead.
“Those who are not brave cannot be leaders because they would not be able to face their enemies.”
He said even in peaceful countries, there will be challenges and leaders need to overcome them.
“In a society, we need at least one leader. If we have many leaders, they may argue and forget their responsibility,” he said, adding that leaders who compete among themselves and fight for leadership may forget their role in the community.
But he said bravery needs to come with knowledge and the right values.
“Leaders are given powers and if the rights are misused, anger arises and they will not last,” Mahathir added.
During a question-and-answer session, he told the participants that he wanted everyone to think as Malaysian first, putting this ahead of their ethnicity. He said he tried implementing that during his first tenure as prime minister but failed.
Mahathir also told leaders to use technology to their benefit.
‘Produce own goods’
On attracting investments into the country, he said countries like Japan and Korea did not wait for investors to come to their countries “but they are a lot more successful”.
This is because they worked hard to set up factories and produced items for the global market.
In Malaysia, he said it was time to create local products as investors are also being invited to other countries.
“We need to set up own factories and we can become suppliers to others.”
Mahathir further shared his hopes for the future generation.
“We cannot guarantee that the good policies will remain if the government changes,” he said, urging youths to support good leaders and policies.
The 94-year-old prime minister said he will not be around in the future to watch over what was happening in the country but added: “I will be watching from above.”