This book demonstrates how particular values and 'notions of leadership', which underpinned traditional Malay leadership, have played a crucial role in the political evolution of the modern Malaysian nation. The author discusses the nature of Malay 'notions of leadership', and considers this throughout the Malay world at the local as well as at the national level, and goes on to describe and analyse leadership from pre-independence leadership in the colonial period through the rule of Malaysia's four prime ministers. He draws on anthropology, psychology, and political and economic history to show how Malay leaders have kept within the established track of the Malay value system, responding in particular to the expectation of their people to provide a sense of national identity and unity against the complex background of the Malaysian 'mosaic', while addressing the needs of the wider multi-ethnic community. Throughout the evolutionary development of Malay leadership, symbolisms for the perpetuation of leadership veneration persisted in its institutions and in the sublime power of the sultans. The Malay case offers one of the most remarkable studies of leadership, in its attempt to maintain indigenous primacy in a large multi-racial environment, subscribing to western democracy for its governance while retaining conservative Islamic values. This book is a significant contribution to the understanding of the evolution of leadership. It begins with an explanation of the early Malay World belief system and progresses to the period of colonization and nationalism. It then follows through the dynamics of modern politics encapsulating the biographical profiles of all Malaysia's Prime Ministers - Tunku, Razak, Hussein, and Mahathir - in three aspects: national unity, the economy and foreign affairs. The analysis of Mahathir's leadership extends into the new millennium. This is the only book with biographical profiles of all of Malaysia's Prime Ministers.
This book will be of interest to students, academics, politicians, foreign affairs specialists and any reader interested in leadership studies and about Malaysia's political and economic history.