Instilling courtesy and values


ON Jan 11, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi launched the “Courtesy and Noble Values” campaign in an effort to rid the nation of the “Ugly Malaysian” tag. 

Said Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage Datuk Seri Rais Yatim: “The RM5mil result-oriented programme would involve a number of ministries with the aim of curbing social ills caused by moral decay among the young. We felt that something had to be done to combat the deteriorating values in society.” (The Star, Nov 25, 2004) 

The people targeted for the programme (training) are civil servants, students and national service trainees. How appropriate! 

Some 13 years ago, the Malaysian Institute of Management addressed this very same issue. MIM had an uneasy feeling about the growing negative trends and the lack of leadership qualities among Malaysian youth. 

The faculty developed a nine-day programme to imbue youths from all parts of the country with important values of good leadership. 

The programme addressed both “brain and brawn” factors. The youths had to be mentally and physically tough. Through classroom activities, talks and discussions, MIM took care of the former while the Royal Malaysian Navy at Lumut managed the latter. 

Throughout the development and discussion phase of the programme, MIM felt that an outstanding Malaysian leader’s name should lend support to it. The Institute already had the Tunku Abdul Rahman (TAR) Lecture series. Tun Razak shone as a beacon with his active role in youth movements both at the local and international levels. With the blessings of the late Tun’s family the name Tun Razak Youth Leadership Awards Programme (Tryla) was chosen. 

At all times of the training, participants were continuously reminded about the importance of their contribution and their role in society. As reinforcement, the youths took part in gotong-royong projects like painting the village balai raya (community halls), and sprucing up schools and Kemas kindergartens.  

From the onset, the group of 50-plus participants representing a microcosm of Malaysian society were deliberately “mixed” to foster unity and allow them to appreciate one another’s culture, customs and religion. Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAF), a German NGO, gave MIM a helping hand by sponsoring this programme. 

Speakers and panel discussants drove as far as Lumut to share their experiences to help “make a difference” in this group of Tryla participants, for free. 

Over the years, more than 600 youths from the ages of 21 to 30 who came from all walks of life have undergone this training. A good many are enjoying successful careers and are active at community level. Some thoughts from past participants will illuminate the programme better. 

“? Working with other Trylans from different backgrounds, professions, beliefs and a multitude of characters was certainly an experience for me. There were some not so pleasant situations, but these managed to serve its purpose – that is to have us learn how to deal with the situations and more importantly how to deal with people involved without getting deeper into the hole. The Tryla programme has indeed changed our perspective on life and for that, we will always be grateful.” – Fatimah Rodhiah 

“We turned up a motley crew and emerged from this programme a disciplined group who learned a lot about teamwork and management to prepare us as future leaders.” –Christina Ho 

Seven years after this programme was started, MIM created another milestone by conceiving and initiating the Tun Hussein Onn Renewal Awards (Thora) programme for people in their mid-career. The aim was for the participants to “soul” search themselves and society and see the meaning of life; what is going wrong in society; the part they play in society and to decide how they can redirect their lives to help bring about a society that is just, equitable, ethical and humane besides being progressive. Fittingly it was named after Tun Hussein Onn, a leader who epitomises the qualities of honesty, humanity, integrity and justice. 

Again, KAF was kind enough to sponsor the programme. Over 200 participants have undergone this programme, which had individuals hailing from Sweden, China, India, the Middle East, Australia, Namibia, Brazil and Japan taking part. 

What did the participants do in the Thora programme? They read and discussed the wisdom of Ibn Khaldum, Confucius, Ghandi and Hans Kung, the thoughts of Plato, Matsushita, Harun Hashim and others. This was reinforced by panel discussions and talks that included key Malaysian concerns and contemporary issues. They also visited places representing contrasting sides of Malaysian society. Similar to the Tryla programme, speakers and panellists supported the cause gratis. 

Ho Ha Yin, a training manager from a multinational company in Batu Pahat, said that the programme gave him confidence to interact with other communities. “It made a world of a difference!” he said. 

In keeping with the continuum of working individuals’ growth and development, MIM initiated the Raja Mohar Life Enrichment Awards (Ramlea) programme for those who were about to retire or who had just retired. The aim was to introduce the concept of “mutual dependence” where participants could explore between “giving” and “receiving”; being needed and being needy: in short, how to be active and useful to society while fulfilling one’s life.  

Participants discussed cases of people contributing to society during their “golden years”. Besides talks and panel discussions, the programme also included a ‘practicum’ visitation to the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (Frim), Pure Life Society, Expertise Resource Association (ERA) and Malaysian Invention and Design Society (MINDS). Again, the programme was sponsored by KAF. 

Malaysian Institute of Management has involved itself in the three community development efforts for more than a decade. It has the experience to be a partner in noble endeavours like the “Courtesy and Nobel Values” campaign. 

The Institute has community efforts that are working, both at the Ministry or National service level, and is ever ready to serve the nation. 


o S. Hadi Abdullah is an advisor to MIM-KAF social development programmes. Tryla, Thora and Ramlea programmes are organised yearly. For more information on any of these programmes, contact MIM Customer Service at 03-21654611, e-mail or visit www. 

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