Vaseehar Hassan bin Abdul Razack PhD Defence

Strategy & Organisation

Dissertation Title
THE MALAY LEADERSHIP MYSTIQUE :Building a background to a psychoanalytic  understanding of Malay leadership qualities in politics and business

Date & Location
26 September 2013 @ 13:45 in the Aula of the Main Building of the VU University Amstedam

Promotor: Prof. dr. mr. S. ten Have & Prof. dr. D.J. Eppink
Co-promotor:   Prof. dr. E. van de Loo

THE MALAY LEADERSHIP MYSTIQUE: Building a background to a psychoanalytic understanding of Malay leadership qualities in politics and business 


The NEP which is the embodiment of affirmative policies to help the Malays in the economic front was formulated after the infamous May 13 racial riots.  However, the target envisaged at the time of the NEP implementation was not achieved even after forty years.

Juxtaposed with the analysis of past political leadership of the Malays, the core of my research is to understand the lack of success of the Malays in business. By lack of success, I refer to the lack of active participation of Malays in the economic activities of the nation.  This research is exploratory in nature and I embarked on this research using the clinical and psychodynamic approach.

To augment my research, I felt that the Malay mentality from the cultural and psycho-social aspects need to be understood and for good measure, I drew on the historical and contemporary writings about the Malays and used four different cultural models drawn from Hofstede, Schein, Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner and Kets de Vries. I also believed that a qualitative and multi-disciplinary approach using grounded theory, interpretive methodology, experiential data, fieldwork involving focus groups and expert panel interviews and 360-degree feedback instruments providing empirical data, would be appropriate in studying the Malay leadership using the clinical paradigm.  Volkan’s psychoanalytical theories such as large-group identity and large-group regression added an insightful dimension in appreciating the Malay problems studied through the clinical lens.

Several distinguished and eminent personalities were roped in for the focus groups and expert panel interviews.  The preliminary findings of this research encourages a starting point in carrying out further research and deeper reflection and hopefully find answers to the dilemma of the Malays’ lack of success economically and in business.

About the Author Vaseehar Hassan bin Abdul Razack

Vaseehar (aged 62) has a 30 year banking experience from 1980 to 2010 when he took an optional retirement to pursue on full time basis his PhD in the Vrije Universiteit. Vaseehar was the Chief Executive  Officer of the Malaysian operations of the Saudi conglomerate Dallah Al Baraka Group, managing the group's various investments in Malaysia primarily in the financial sector including holding the position of Chairman of an Islamic bank in Malaysia and directorships in the RHB Banking Group, the fourth largest banking group in Malaysia. He also sits on the supervisory boards of several private companies in Malaysia and is an accredited Executive Coach with  the Insead Global Leadership Centre, Fontainebleau.

Vaseehar holds a B. Com degree in Accounting from Loyola College, University of Madras,  MBA (Aston Business School, UK) and a Diploma  and a Master's degree in Consulting and Coaching for Change from Insead and HEC, respectively.