KUALA LUMPUR: Good leaders do not depend on luck when making a decision but are pragmatic and they study the issue confronting them thoroughly, said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The former prime minister said leaders should not trust their luck as doing so was equivalent to gambling the future of those they lead.
You should examine every detail and data, get opinions from experts and try to understand every single thing about the issue you are dealing with.
Once you've understood clearly about the issue, you should be able to make a good decision with full confidence without having to depend on luck, he said in a lecture on Leadership in Crisis Management at the Universiti Tenaga Nasional here yesterday.
Dr Mahathir said that was exactly what he did when the country was facing the financial crisis in 1997.
I didn't study economics and I didn't know much about currency trading. It was a headache for me to learn all that before making decisions.
Yes, the decisions were against the convention, to the economic experts, but I stood by them and Alhamdullilah (Thank God) we went through the troubled waters and did not go bankrupt as many foreigners had predicted, he told the 3,000-strong audience.
Dr Mahathir was referring to the decision to peg the ringgit to the US dollar to check short-selling by currency traders which caused the ringgit to depreciate uncontrollably.
Replying to a question from the floor, Dr Mahathir said he still could not understand why he had been accused of wasting the government's money on mega projects such as the KL International Airport (KLIA), Twin Towers, Putrajaya administrative centre and Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC).
The critics said those mega projects were a bad decision by me and that we don't need them but I saw it as a way to keep our economy running.
Those projects created endless spin-off effects and provided job opportunities to thousands of people and until today, I believe we are still enjoying the benefits from the projects, he said.