Pemandu’s Dato’ Sri Idris Jala: The Leader Malaysia Could Have Had – But Didn’t

Pemandu’s Dato’ Sri Idris Jala: The Leader Malaysia Could Have Had – But Didn’t

#Leadership #Turnaround #MAS #Proton #Malaysia

PEMANDU’s Dato’ Sri Idris Jala – The Leader Malaysia Could Have Had – But Didn’t

Born in Sarawak as a devout Kelabit Christian, Dato’ Sri Idris Jala wasn’t meant to work at Shell for 23 years. Nor was he meant to head Malaysia Airlines, help Proton in its turnaround strategy, work as a former Minister in the Malaysian government, much less advise governments and global corporations in socioeconomic affairs as Chairman of PEMANDU Associates.

And yet he did, thanks to a heady cocktail of destiny, faith and hard work, culminating in his current roles as Co-Chairman of Sunway, ProChancellor of Sunway University and Chairman of Heineken Malaysia, in between lecturing twice a year at Harvard University.

Here, he talks to Khoo Hsu Chuang about Leadership, Fate, Faith and Serendipity, while proffering original and practical suggestions for Malaysia’s woes.

(Many thanks to the Asia School of Business for their collaboration with The Do More Podcast, in whose studio this conversation was recorded. The Asia School of Business is a partnership between MIT Sloan School of Management and Bank Negara Malaysia).


02:16 – Idris Sings His Own Composition: ‘Malaysia’s Got Blues’
02:30 – What happened When Idris First Appeared on BFM in September 2010
04:49 – ‘My Ancestors Were headhunters, Born in the Jungle’
07:39 – What if Idris Were Born Rich?
08:10 – How Hunger Tastes
09:10 – How the British Army’s Movies Changed Idris’ WorldView
09:33 – What Were Some Breaks Idris Received?
12:52 – The Role of Fate in One’s Life: Destiny’s Role
14:38 – Knowing One’s True North
15:10 – The Moment When Idris Discovered His Life’s Meaning, During The Barrio Revival
18:59 – What of Atheism?
19:31 – How did the Rest of the Cohort Do in Life?
20:15 – Idris’ Career in Shell and on to National Duty
23:21 – Some Key Principles of Turning Around a Company
29:17 – Malaysia’s GLC Challenges
31:42 – Dealing with MAS’ Huge Excesses
37:20 – The Discipline to Ensure the Positive Changes Remain
38:52 – Weaning Malaysia Off Its Addictions
41:03 – The GST Discussion
45:52 – The Right People For a Turnaround Situation
47:13 – How to Deal with Fuel Subsidies
49:12 – Should Zombie GLCs Die? (Proton…)
52:37 – How Can Malaysia Be Turned Around?
54:14 – What is a ‘Quality Graduate’?
57:26 – What’s Most Important about the Education Journey
1:00:11 – Five Key Turnaround Strategies
1:02:11 – What Does it Take to Lead? To Inspire?
1:06:58 – Shell’s Four Traits of a Top Leader
1:09:41 – Leadership in the 21st Century
1:11:47 – Covid Almost Closed PEMANDU – What Happened Next?
1:19:46 – Idris’ Rules for Life
1:23:12 – Putting the Game of Impossible Into Play: What’s Involved?
1:26:29 – The Impossible Task Idris Has Set Himself
1:29:49 – That Time When Idris Met Lee Kuan Yew
1:33:15 – What’s Malaysia’s Impossible Task?

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At Pemandu:

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Khoo Hsu Chuang

Khoo Hsu Chuang

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