Mahathir as the Prime Minister: Peak of “Paternalistic Leadership†in Malaysia


  • Lutfan Jaes Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia
  • Nurul Aimi Razali Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia
  • Khairul Azman Mohamad Suhaimy Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia


Mahathir Mohamad, paternalistic leadership, value system, local wisdom


This article attempts to describe Mahathir in the style of paternalistic leadership in the system of governmental value in Malaysia. It is traced through the influence of local wisdom which is believed to form the leadership character of the 7th Malaysian Prime Minister. The initial stance of this article was taken with reference to a previous study when Mahathir took office as the 4th Prime Minister of Malaysia. The analysis method is content analysis by describing 12 selected speech and media texts of Mahathir over a one-year period. The analysis observed the value of paternalistic leadership through “Work Ethicsâ€, “Communalismâ€, “Authority Orientationâ€, and “Familismâ€. These four values ​​were chosen because they are often discussed by scholars as the values ​​underlying the Asian leadership style. The data is encoded manually. The result of this study is an explanation of paternal values of Mahathir in governing. In conclusion, the paternalistic leadership in Malaysia has reached its peak when the skills of a statesman are still in demand. Mahathir not only guided the new community free from colonialism and brought it forward with mental and physical preparation to overcome the global challenges of the 20th century, he also led and continued the works related to the “relaxation†of the past leadership. Most importantly, it is incorporated indirectly into the local wisdom of the community with some manipulation of values ​​to suit the current needs.







How to Cite

Jaes, L. ., Razali, N. A. ., & Mohamad Suhaimy, K. A. . (2020). Mahathir as the Prime Minister: Peak of “Paternalistic Leadership” in Malaysia. Journal of Social Transformation and Regional Development, 2(1), 42-51.