(Bernama) - “During my time (as prime minister), I was reproached by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and Musa Hitam and there were also scores of people who were angry with me,” he said.
Leaders can be reproached and challenged if it is felt they have strayed from the struggle to develop society and the nation, says former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“(We do it) when we have the opportunity to do so, but not in an angry or insulting manner. We give opinions that can be taken into consideration by the leaders,” he said.
Speaking to reporters after a discussion on leadership at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), here yesterday, he said the leaders too must be open to challenge and reprovals.
“During my time (as prime minister), I was reproached by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and Musa Hitam and there were also scores of people who were angry with me,” he said.
Dr Mahathir said leaders must also not overstay in power and “go when it is time for them to go, although they are popular among the people”.
Asked how a leader would know if it is time to step down, he said: “A leader must be able to read the people’s mind and there would be indications or signals for him to go.”
However, he said, it would be bad if the time given to a leader to lead was too short that he could not learn his job, formulate some policies and implement them.
“Five years? Ten years? Some countries limit it (term) to five years. That is not good.
“People need to give time to a leader unless of course if he is very bad, filling his own pocket, giving priority to his family and something like that. If he is not like that, then you allow him to stay on at least for another term”.
On the 13th general election, Dr Mahathir said the problem that he saw in Barisan Nasional at the moment was that there were too many people who considered themselves as the best candidates.
“When not elected as candidates, these people will go all out to prevent the elected candidates from winning.”
He said another thing that would hinder BN from winning two-thirds majority comfortably in the elections was that the people were easily influenced by the feeling of hatred being stirred up against the government by the opposition.