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Leaders on letting go

“If there are other responsibilities, I will go earlier.”

MIC president Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu, hinting at a revised timeline for his departure as party chief. He earlier said he would relinquish the presidency to his deputy Datuk G Palanivel some “eight or nine months” before his term ends in May 2012.

Samy Vellu has sacked party leaders who have openly asked him to quit sooner, or who have disagreed with his use of presidential powers to expel members as a first rather than last resort. Samy Vellu has maintained that his leadership is needed until next year to strengthen the party. He has led the MIC since 1979. (Source: Samy ready to leave?, The Star, 30 May 2010)

“I am not going to direct the government [after retiring].

“The government can go on and do what is directed by the [new] leader. [I'm] not a back-seat driver.”

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, prior to his retirement in October 2003 after 22 years. He was asked whether after retirement he would remain active in government from behind the scenes, like Singapore’s former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.

However, Mahathir went on to become a leading critic of his hand-picked successor, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Abdullah eventually resigned mid-office in 2009, completing only one full term in power. (Source: Mahathir: I will not be ‘back-seat driver’ after retirement, AFP report in Malaysiakini, 5 Oct 2003)

“I am not going to change my mind. [My supporters and I] have discussed that the reason for my resignation is to pave the way for the younger generation of leaders to take my place.”

MCA president Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik on his resignation, which was seen as a way to end the party’s factional crisis between him and his deputy Tan Sri Lim Ah Lek, who also resigned with Ling. Ling led the MCA for 17 years. (Source: Ling confirms resignation, tightlipped on successor, Malaysiakini, 22 May 2003)

“Thank god, at last I can retire. I am leaving the party post willingly and without any hesitation. I have served the party for almost 30 years. It’s time to leave.

“Unlike government servants who will automatically retire when they come to an age, politicians must learn how to sacrifice when the time comes. All party members must learn this culture.”

Ah Lek, on his resignation as MCA deputy president, which he tendered together with president Ling. The coordinated resignations were part of a peace plan to unite the MCA before the 2004 general election. (Source: Ling hints at Ong-Chan leadership, Malaysiakini, 23 May 2003)

“After so many years at the helm, it is time I pass on the baton to my fellow comrades, who I remind that the struggle of the party is far from over … I will serve in other capacities when needed. However, it is time new leadership takes over.

“My first advice [to Koh as advisor] is don’t ask for my advice. Do what you feel is right.”

Gerakan president Tun Dr Lim Keng Yaik, speaking at a special party congress to bid him farewell. Keng Yaik had announced his departure well ahead of time to prepare the party and his successor, Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon. Koh was acting president and retained the presidency uncontested in party elections in 2008.

For the most part, Keng Yaik has refrained from publicly criticising or directing Koh, although he has acknowledged that Koh is struggling politically and had to be “careful” to avoid a revolt within the party. (Source: Goodbye Dr Lim, hello Dr Koh, Malaysiakini, 8 April 2007) favicon

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5 Responses to “Leaders on letting go”

  1. Andrew I says:

    It’s hard to let go because it was hard to get there. You are the wood from the trees, the icing on the cake. You make people’s wishes come true. You are the guardian of our collective morality. You are the only one who can hold it together.

    Now tell me, how could I possibly be dispensible?

  2. Leithaiosor says:

    Many years ago, I came across a tale based on a historical character, a Greek general if I am not mistaken.

    My foggy recollection of the tale – After leading his country to a great victory over his nation’s enemy, he returned in triumph to the capital. And was promptly offered the nation’s throne by the throngs of adoring citizens. But he declined the offer. He knew that he was a fighting man par excellence, but not a good statesman or ruler material.

    That story had left a deep impact on me, about how a true leader not only knows what is best for his nation, but selflessly declines the top power seat and its trappings for the good of the same. Macam tu le berjiwa rakyat kan?.

    Is Samy Vellu hanging on and on and on in the best interest of the 600,000 [or should it be 410,000?] MIC members? The best interest of Malaysia?

    And “not back seat driver” Dr M – who has, after leading the rout of Abdullah Badawi, been so vocally backing and encouraging Perkasa and its keris-waving, government-bashing Ibrahim Ali? “Not going to direct”? Heck, these days I sometimes get the impression that there are more directives from Dr M than from Najib!

  3. M.K. says:

    Looking at all the comments from the retirees, I think Lim Ah Lek’s is the best. Samy is the worst and he is still up there! Maybe, he prefers a “dishonourable discharge”…

  4. Farouq Omaro says:

    Can’t remember a Sabahan Chief Minister saying he is leaving except for Chong Kah Kiat! Some like Harris Salleh still seem to be sulking over the loss of CM-ship back in 1985.

  5. M.O.T.U says:

    Leaders should be compelled to report to the people monthly on their activities for that month. Hmmmm… I wonder how Samy’s report would look like?


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