Whilst many heap great accolades on this great “Captain of our Country” such as “a mild tempered but firm Leader”, “a Leader who demands Accountability and denounces Corruption”, “always smiling, humble and approachable – a Man of the People”, perhaps the Women’s Institute of Management may postulate one characteristic of YAB Dato Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi which is often taken for granted and not always given enough prominence and that is: he is Malaysia’s No: 1 Role Model Family Man – son, husband, father and grandfather – he is a devoted, refreshing and inspiring role model in these days when domestic violence and family breakdowns take place without consideration for the consequences. A nation may boast of its scientific or military superiority but how much good will that brand of superiority do if the very fabric of a society is disintegrating with its people breaking down and ill prepared to face the harsh realities and challenges of life itself! Pak Lah, as the Prime Minister is affectionately called, married YABhg. Datin Paduka Seri Endon Mahmood in 1965 and they are blessed with a son, Kamaluddin, married to Azreena Abdullah and a daughter, Nori, married to Khairy Jamaluddin. Pak Lah graduated with a B.A. (Hons) in Islamic Studies in 1964 and promptly joined the Civil Service. He rose to become Deputy Secretary General of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports in 1974 and pursued a political career in 1978. Known for his moderate views, he rose to become Education, Defence and Foreign Minister before becoming Deputy Prime Minister cum Home Affairs Minister. Pak Lah’s style of leadership is unique with a holistic orientation to people and situations. As a consolidator, he helps bring Race, Religion, Culture, Economy and Security together in pursuit of Vision 2020. As a facilitator, he will bring the laggards to account sans cliques and camps. With his astuteness, energy and courage, he will play a significant part in sewing up and unifying opposing factions.

It is now just over a year ago that Pak Lah took over as the nation’s Prime Minister from YABhg. Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. Widely respected as an Islamic scholar and a consummate diplomat, Pak Lah wasted no time putting his stamp on the National Agenda when he took over. He swiftly put on hold lucrative mega government projects to rein in overspending, curtailed corruption by opening up bidding processes on infrastructure projects and propagated transparency for both public and private sectors. All Barisan Nasional elected representatives were instructed to declare their assets and repeat the exercise biennially. On 19.4.2004, a Code of Ethics was launched for all Members of Parliament.

Pak Lah also consolidated the domestic economy and reduced the country’s debts by giving focus to the Agriculture Sector, making this sector the next engine of growth for the country to ultimately achieve self reliance in food production, which means savings and wealth creation for the country. Malaysia’s Real GDP Growth has grown from 6.6 in the fourth Quarter of 2003 to 8.0 in the second Quarter of 2004 and the trend remains upwards. On 10.2.2004, it was announced that Malaysian Annual Exports exceed RM380 Billion for the first time. During his first year of tenure as Prime Minister. Pak Lah is perceived by the man in the street as having “walked the talk” through actions such as ordering his Cabinet ministers to set up task forces to cut down red tape, setting up a Royal Commission on Police Force to answer to charges of misconduct and corruption, rejected a State Government’s proposal to allow all income groups to buy low cost houses and announced major revamp of government-linked companies. His diplomatic skills and experience have been put to good use by meetings with numerous Heads of Government including the Chinese and British Prime Ministers and U.S. and French Presidents. He has improved diplomatic relations with Singapore and delivered an impressive Address at the UN General Assembly on 27.9.2004. In December 2004, Pak Lah made a historical and hugely successful visit to India, creating closer economic co-operation between Malaysia and India. He was awarded an Honorary doctorate by one of India’s great universities, Jamia Millia Islamic University.

Pak Lah is destined to be the small person’s leader and WIM is confident that Pak Lah will ensure that organisations like SMIDEC (Small and Medium Industries Development Corporation) will assume a greater role in national development. WIM is equally confident that under Pak Lah’s leadership, government policies and actions will be women-friendly and in tandem with the current trend of university intake and will mobilise women’s talents to help develop the country.

These are three of Pak Lah’s more noteable sayings:

1) “We must advance, strive for efficiency, modernity and competitiveness.
Be more lean, more resourceful, more productive
more competitive and more able to take on the world”.

2) “In your heart, PEACE; in your home, HAPPINESS;
in the world, LOVE, in our country, UNITY;
Let us continue to be good neighbours and Friends
Let us also strive to make Malaysia
a kinder, more tolerant and better Home for all of us”

3) “To achieve greater success,
there must be transformation in the way we do things
and we need to refocus on key strategic areas”

It is with a great sense of respect and honour that the Women’s Institute of Management awards WIM’s Eminent Member status to YAB Dato Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Prime Minister of Malaysia.