A Conversation with Tan Sri Leo Moggie

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Tan Sri Datuk Amar Leo Moggie anak Irok was Malaysia’s Minister of Energy, Communications and Multimedia, and Minister of Welfare Services in the Sarawak State Government in the eras of Tun Abdul Razak, Tun Hussein Onn, and Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. He had an illustrious career as a politician in Sarawak, first as a member of the Opposition, then as part of the National Front. Tan Sri is the longest -serving Chairman of TNB, Malaysia’s largest electricity utility company, having helmed the company since 2004.

Perdana Leadership Foundation interviewed Tan Sri Leo Moggie as part of its Oral History Series. A proud Dayak, Tan Sri shares much of what life was like in East Malaysia before Sarawak’s Independence, and the complications that arose once it became part of Malaysia. He shares also many entertaining anecdotes of life as a politician in Sarawak.

This book shines a spotlight on one of Malaysia’s longest-serving members of Cabinet, and an icon of Sarawak politics, Tan Sri Leo Moggie anak Irok.

DMS |I note that you are among the few people who had the opportunity to work under the leadership of four Prime Ministers: Tun Hussein Onn, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and indirectly, of course, with Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak. In your opinion how do they approach particular issues in nation building? Are there any differences and similarities in their leadership styles that stand out for you? Are there specific lessons, especially leadership lessons, which you draw from each of them?


TSLM |You are right in that each person has a different style of doing things. All of them have one common interest and that is to see this country move forward. I don’t think anybody can question that motivation in every single one of our Prime Ministers.


I’m fortunate in that I had the chance to work directly under Tun Hussein as well as Tun Dr Mahathir. I only worked briefly with Tun Abdullah, from October 2003 until April 2004 but we had been colleagues in the Cabinet for a number of years when he was Foreign Minister.


I owe a lot to Tun Hussein as he appointed me to the Cabinet. Tun Hussein was a very deliberate person. He was very careful and very meticulous, especially with regard to issues of a sensitive nature, such as communal, ethnic, or racial issues. In Cabinet, for such matters, he would ask individual ministers to express their views before he made a decision.

From that perspective, he was more like a chairman. His reputation of high integrity is definitely well-deserved – I always looked up to him because of his integrity.


(Tan Sri elaborates further in the book)

Download an excerpt

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