Thursday, February 12, 2015

Learning To Let Go In A Week Of Significant Political Change

It seems Winston Churchill's wisdom that 'A week is a very long time in politics' rings true in Malaysia this week, with the loss of DS Anwar Ibrahim's final appeal being closely followed by the passing away of arguably the most popular PAS Leader-Ulama, TG Nik Aziz Nik Mat. The departure of these 2 leaders from the political scene will likely result in a significant shift in the political landscape. However, whilst both were fast friends and allies, there is a marked difference in how they have chosen to conduct themselves as politicians, in particular when it comes to 'letting go'.
In the case of DS Anwar Ibrahim, it is plain to see that he himself has never been prepared to 'let go' of his political aspirations. This behaviour is what has more than anything resulted in the shaping of a political legacy where those closest to him apparently are also unable to 'let go' and move away from a struggle centred around DS Anwar as an icon. Whilst there would be some call to admire such loyalty and determination, this inability to let go and move on is not constructive and ultimately unhealthy, and may risk many brilliant leaders groomed by DS Anwar squandering almost 2 decades of political struggle.
In this regard, TG Nik Aziz has certainly been better prepared in letting go and in supporting his party as well as those he has groomed to move on with PAS' struggles. A sincere acceptance of Allah's will is undoubtedly key to TG Nik Aziz's success here, and with his health failing even whilst he was still politically strong and in the Menteri Besar's office. It should have come as no surprise when a new leadership line-up, with a new MB too boot, was announced for the state of Kelantan after the 13th General Election (PRU13); but apparently a surprise to all but the most senior Leader-Ulamas in PAS.
This change of guard in Kelantan could not have happened without TG Nik Aziz's tacit support and blessing. And in letting go, TG Nik Aziz also demonstrated his open-mindedness and ability to avoid from imposing his own preferences on the future, hence laying a stronger foundation for PAS in Kelantan and better securing his legacy. For rather than continuing to support his non-Ulama favourite, Husam Musa, who would struggle to survive TG Nik Aziz's departure, the erstwhile 'rogue' son, Nik Abduh Nik Aziz was given the opportunity to seize a political platform as MP of Pasir Mas.
For letting go means that there has to be an acceptance that your will as a leader cannot and should not even be attempted to be imposed on the future, for a leader has to be relevant for the now and for the coming future. The best past leaders can do is in grooming successors that carry the same values and the right skillsets to lead into that foreseeable future. And in this, TG Nik Aziz has presented his final gift to PAS, allowing it to build for the future UPON the legacy that was his time as its FORMER leader. Very unlike DS Anwar, who now leaves a set of loyal supporters that will be increasingly lost and confused...
Underpinning all this is a message to all leaders, past, present and future, that letting go is a normal and necessary part of each individual's journey through life, such that even any leader will eventually come of his peak of power and influence. Securing the right legacy or something lasting when in power hence does not translate to building anything physical that can be brought down, or constructing power edifices or policy structures which can easily crumble or become outdated. A leader's most lasting legacy are the leaders they groom that carry and champion the right values for the benefit of all...

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