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PUTRAJAYA, July 9 — A void in leadership would spell disaster for Malaysia, just like Brazil’s unceremonious exit from the World Cup earlier this morning, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today.
The prime minister said it was evident in Brazil’s 1-7 semi-finals loss to Germany that there was simply no leadership to keep the World Cup hosts’ backline together.
“When I watched Brazil, their defence was all over the place. I put it down to lack of leadership. There was no proper leadership.
“If that could happen to a football team, imagine what would happen to a country that does not have effective leadership... the answer is, we will end up like Brazil,” he joked when launching the second round of the Perdana Fellowship programme.
Najib’s comments come on the heels of a Twitter gaffe by Barisan Nasional (BN) MP Datuk Bung Moktar Radin who saluted Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler earlier this morning over the German football team’s victory over Brazil in the World Cup semi-final.
Bung tweeted; “WELL DONE..BRAVO...LONG LIVE HITLER...”, drawing flak from users on the micro-blogging site for the comment.
The Kinabatangan lawmaker, however, defended his Twitter posting later, telling English news portal The Star Online that the German team merely fought like Hitler and that his tweet was “just for fun”.
Austrian-born Hitler was the leader of Nazi Germany between 1934 and 1945, and was at the centre of World War II.
Hitler was also behind the Holocaust, the mass extermination and execution of millions of European Jews in concentration camps.
Some Muslims worldwide, including in Malaysia, have even publicly expressed their admiration for Hitler for executing the Jews.
Bung’s remark today comes just weeks after Najib called on Umno members to emulate the bravery of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants, who defeated an Iraqi force outnumbering it nearly 30-to-one, if the nationalist party is to survive.
However, a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office two days later said Najib had not indicated support for ISIL and maintains his position against all forms of extremism.
Najib today, meanwhile, said it is important for the nation’s future leaders to be groomed to become well-rounded individuals who have the maturity to deal with matters beyond what they learned in university.
The prime minister said this is where initiatives such as the Perdana Fellowship can help, by providing a platform for the best of the country’s youths to learn how to run a country.
“Success does not rest solely on your degree. It also comes with the maturity to think, act and interact with others,” he said.
A total of 84 undergraduates and graduates have been selected for this round of the Perdana Fellowship programme, which places them on internships of up to six months under the mentorship of federal ministers.