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Election Watch

合乎道德的領導方有作為 / The Power of Ethical Leadership

Sin Chew Daily
March 6, 2016

By Lynda Lim

馬來西亞人正身處關鍵時刻。我們必須在有恃無恐的處事文化中保持醒覺。2015年,我們看到國民在與有恃無恐的處事文化進行抗爭時面臨的現實處境。而激發公眾對公共議題展開激烈討論的是某高層次貪污事件。早期的“廉潔、有效率、誠信”的口號已經黯然失色。

國民們急切渴望能擁有更廉潔的政府。這帶起了許多社會運動,以及建立更有效的公民社會架構。

國民也看到了對於追求改革的限制,除了警告,還包括禁止批評政府和領袖、針對社交媒體和外國媒體採取更嚴厲的審查。

國民訴求的是尊崇法治、透明、開明政府及民主參與。許多人開始對自由意識有所醒覺,認為每個國民都擁有權利去追尋真相和崇高理念,並剔除虛假和低劣的行為。

在這樣的情景下領導權須合乎道德變得很重要。它讓我們意識到領袖的權力意味著甚麼?我們很常忘記,權力意味著服務和賦權人民。領袖在承擔起這個任務時,必須明白權力是為了人而存在,而不是人為了權力而存在。

領袖經常被權力迷惑,經常變成他們不欲成為的人。他們會失去人性,被權力支配。他們受制於制度的架構,決策也同時受影響。那些人在權力的支配下所作的決策,將不會意識到權力是用來服務人民的。反之他們相信權力所帶來的一切就是有益於人民。

領袖有責任確保法律是用以保護人民而不是用來剝削人民。有時候擁有權力者剝奪了人民的基本權益,而忘了這是至高者賦予他們責任讓人民享有權益。合乎道德的領導權必須捍衛處事公正者;必須保護弱小和被忽視的人,以及被邊緣化者。這是為了促使國民能受到公平對待。法庭是伸張正義的地方。

大馬領袖必須回應的重大挑戰因此在於允許他們本身和國民履行自由意志。這乃包括拒絕虛假、勇於認錯,以及接納更高的道德規範。南非前總統曼德拉不斷重申:“自由不只是拋掉身上的鎖鏈,而是以一種尊重和增進他人自由的方式生活。”

國民渴望並急切地想瞭解政治情勢會如何演變,而馬來西亞將會走向何方。類似的訴求過去也許會被噤聲,但現在是越來越響亮,訴求者增加,而且趨向激烈。這一切為那些嘗試從各種經驗中得到借鑒的領袖們帶來新的挑戰。領袖們必須先從自身的心靈改革做起以成為合乎道德的領導。大馬的未來所面對的問題毫無疑問的繫於領袖的心態,並且須緊記“應該獲取真理,而不是將之出賣。”



English version:

The Power of Ethical Leadership

Malaysians are living in a demanding time. We are called upon to be a light in the culture of impunity. 2015 is the year that saw citizens grappling with the realities in confronting the culture of impunity. An area which attracts considerable public discussion is the grand corruption at the highest  level. Fundamental elements have lost the importance they seemed to have had at an earlier period i.e. “Bersih , Cekap, Amanah”. 

Notable is the citizen’s appetite for a cleaner government. This has led to the emergence of social movements and a more effective civil society structures established. Citizens have also witnessed rejections of the need for such a change, along with the warning of the negatives, that can be associated with prohibition of any criticism directed towards the state, leaders, greater censorship on the use on social media and engagement with foreign media.  

The scandal of the grand corruption has urged citizens to plead for respect for the rule of law, transparency, open government and participatory democracy. The processes in which Malaysia has experienced led many to speak on the freedom of conscience-the freedom of every citizen’s right to seek what is true, noble and discard what is false and less noble.

It is in this context that the power of ethical leadership becomes so important. It gives us an insight as to what the power of leadership is meant to be. It is too often forgotten that the purpose of power is to serve and to empower citizens. By undertaking that, it is important for leaders to understand that power exists for humanity instead of humanity existing for power.   Leaders often get grated into powers and often become what they do not want to be.  They may lose part of their humanity to become what the powers dictate. The institutional structure also defines who they are and the decision that they make.  The people whose decisions are dictated by powers do not see that their power exists for the sake of serving people. Instead they believe what is good for the power is good for humanity.  

Leaders are responsible for having the law empower and not to tyrannise the citizens. Sometimes, power denies citizens their basic rights that God established the power for duty bearers to provide.  The power of an ethical leadership must defend those who act righteously; must protect the weak, poor, the trodden and to defend the marginalised.  It is to enable citizens to act justly. The court is to render justice.

The major challenges to which the leaders of Malaysia must respond will come therefore from the demands to allow themselves and the citizens  to exercise the freedom of conscience. This will include the rejection of falsehoods, repentance for wrong doing and acceptance of higher moral norms. Continuing in the line of Nelson Mandela, “ For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances one’s freedom for others”. 

Citizens are curious and anxious trying to understand the direction that politics are going to take; and where is Malaysia headed to. This cry might well have seemed muted back then but today it is loud and clear, increasing in volume and intensity. All this creates a new challenge for leaders who are trying to draw inspiration for their lives.. To be real, inner personal transformation is the pre-requisite for an ethical leadership. Questions surrounding the future of Malaysia will undoubtedly continue but for leaders, Lest we forget “Buy the truth and sell it not”.


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