Dr Mahathir Mohamad offering a few pointers for Myanmar Junta

 Dr Mahathir Mohamad

offering a few pointers  

for Myanmar Junta

Aspiring leaders who resort to unethical ways and even violence should be rejected outright, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. (unethical ways = Illegal second coup after the election violence = violent suppression and killing of the peaceful demonstrators and monks)


The former Prime Minister said anyone wanting to be a leader could try to acquire the right qualities but may not succeed.

“How he handles his failure will demonstrate whether he really has the qualities,” Dr Mahathir told an undergraduate conference here on     13. 01.08. (Myanmar Tatmadaw affliated party lost badly to NLD. Junta refused to hand over power and arrested almost all the elected NPs.)

“There are perhaps a 1,000 people in Malaysia with good leadership qualities but they are never going to make it simply because the circumstances are not propitious,” he said.

On the other hand, he said, there may be people with poor leadership qualities who may become leaders because leadership is thrust upon them. (Like Myanmar Tatmadaw leaders)

The seven attributes of a good leader, Dr Mahathir said, were:

A good leader may not be humble but at least he should not be boastful. (See Than Shwe’s daughter’s wedding)

He must be prepared to accept responsibilities but should not be too pushy and insistent on taking the lead.

He should not seek to blame others for failures but to admit his own culpability. He should not point fingers or seek scapegoats. (Tatmadaw point fingers to NLD, opposition and the western countries)

He should be modest and not seek praise and glory. (Tatmadaw generals are always opposite to this. Ne Win, Saw Maung and Than Shwe, all of them want to be Kings and tried to claim that they have Royal blood.)

He should know how to handle his followers as much as his superiors. He must be sensitive to the sensitivities of others.

He should be willing to do what he expects others to do. He should uphold the slogan of leadership by example. SPDC generals ordered others to obey them but never practice what they preach.

He should be learned and more intelligent at least by comparison to the people he leads. Tatmadaw leaders are illetrate and idiotics.

Dr Mahathir said a leader must know how to make his ideas become reality. (SPDC Junta could do this by pointing the barrel of the gun)

He said a leader must be aware of the needs and desires of his people, to evaluate them, to direct them in the proper direction, and to plan and execute together with his followers the objectives successfully. (SPDC  Junta head told BD that Dr M is already senile and talking rubbish. Than Shwe added that people must know what Tatmadaw leaders want, desire, wishes  and must fulfill or if oppose, should be executed.)

He said the rise of great nations was invariably due to good leadership. (Look at Myanmar’s progress due to Tatmadaw Generals.)

“When the leaders are incompetent, the countries would fall.

  • The people may be the same,
  • the background
  • and the wealth
  • and resources may be the same,

but when leaders are incompetent or just plain bad, then great nations, even great empires can fall,” said Dr Mahathir, who was prime minister for 22 years. –

Dr Mahathier told BD: It saddens me that a country (Burma/Myanmar) that is, that has tremendous potential, very very rich should actually remained poor, because the government has not worked out a solution that would benefit the people of Burma.

Do you know, Burma is very rich, a lot of minerals, a lot of precious stones.

But wealth by itself , existence of wealth by itself , does not mean anything, until the wealth is mobilized.

So the government can, even if it is an authoritarian, it still can work hard for the people.

Burma is of course not a democratic country and is ruled by the Military Junta. When that happens, it is very difficult to change because the Junta will feel unsafe.

The arresting of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is very unfortunate. I don’t believe that is the kind of action that would bring about reconciliation.  

We are hoping that  through accepting Burma and having contact  with the government, we would be able to persuade them and indeed we tried to show that in Malaysia, democracy was not done us any harm.

I think the different Generals have a different attitudes. Presently, of course, the hardliners have the authority.

Do you think that we all let by gone be by gone, forgive, forget and start a fresh new relationship for the benefit of all the people and the country?

Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s answer…Well, I think, if that can be done, certainly, we have to forget the past. If we think in terms of taking revenge for what happened in the past, there will be no solution. But if you want to have a good relation, we have to deliberately forget the past. Because if you keep on thinking about the past, there is no end to the problem.


  1. Bernama (Malaysia official News agency)
  2. Star Newspaper, Malaysia
  3. Burma Digest interview with Dr Mahathir Mohamad