Not many Malaysians can claim to have taken on as many roles in public service as Tan Sri Dr Michael Yeoh. In his 65 years, the man has done a great deal, albeit quietly, to support and drive positive change in the country. Apart from co-founding independent think tank Asian Strategy & Leadership Institute (Asli) 25 years ago, Yeoh has served as Malaysia’s representative on the High Level Task Force on Asean Connectivity, commissioner of the Malaysian Competition Commission, the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) and the Royal Commission of Police, and member of the Advisory Board of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission. He was also a member of the National Unity Consultative Council and the National Economic Consultative Council.
Says Yeoh, “Yes, I suppose there are very few Malaysians who have had the opportunity to serve the nation in this way.”
Tall with a gentle gait, Yeoh is a deeply intelligent and insightful man, and speaks with a quiet confidence that comes from his years of experience in the fields of strategy and economic and political analyses as well as thought leadership.
His colourful and enriching career has been encapsulated in a new book, titled The Road Less Travelled — Footprints From An Unconventional Journey, which is so hot off the presses that it will not be available in bookstores for another month. With several publications relating to leadership, management and politics already under his belt, this new tome chronicles the many global events he witnessed, creating a memoir that is part personal story and part history lesson. Written in the same uncomplicated way that he speaks, the book is filled with pictures that underscore his stories.
“I am very meticulous about details and I’ve kept the pictures carefully for this,” he says, signing a copy for me. “This book had been in the planning for a long time, so the actual writing wasn’t altogether difficult because I knew exactly what I wanted it to be. It’s an abridged memoir, let’s say — no one wants to read thick books anymore, and I wanted to keep the focus on the many interesting events that I had been part of throughout my career.”
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