Inspiring innovation and growth through the TAR Lecture series

The lectures have since been graced by 25 luminaries over the past 47 years


Tunku Abdul Rahman is one of the most influential individuals in the country’s history.

He had not only held the position of the nation’s first prime minister (PM), but his vast contribution also helped to shape many aspects of the formation and development of what we call Malaysia today.

Tunku is known as the Father of Independence. He set the foundation for the formation of Malaysia and securing independence from the British in 1957.

He promoted the importance of a multiracial society as the strength and bedrock of the country. On the regional and global initiatives, he set the tone for Malaysia as an independent and recognised free country.

Despite his retirement in 1970 after the May 13, 1969, incident, he remained respected and highly distinguished among many world leaders.

The Malaysian Institute of Management (MIM), on the eve of his retirement in October 1970, had decided to recognise his magnificent service to the nation and commemorated his premiership through a yearly event called the TAR Lecture series.

Intended to be a yearly event featuring both local and foreign distinguished speakers, the series has transformed into a premier platform for these speakers and individuals to share their knowledge, thinking and findings.

MIM was formed in 1969 in a pioneering role to introduce the art and practice of management to Malaysians. It subsequently becoming the key institution to lead and pave the way for new, reformed and improved management practices and techniques for the government and private sector.

The lectures have since been graced by 25 luminaries over the past 47 years, with the inaugural speech presented by the then American president of the Asian Institute of Management, Dr Stephen H Fuller, who spoke about the importance of purposeful management opportunity.

This was followed by renowned academician and founder of the Department of Economics at Universiti Malaya Professor Diraja Ungku Abdul Aziz Ungku Abdul Hamid, while the third lecture was by veteran British management consultant and writer Lyndall Urwick.

Other prominent speakers who had graced the event are third PM Tun Hussein Onn, Jeffrey Robert Immelt and current PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The TAR Lecture series reflected the crucible of management thinking that was relevant to the respective periods they were delivered. The decade of the 70s under PMs Hussein and Tun Abdul Razak Hussien was largely linked with economic growth and social restructuring of the New Economic Policy.

The decade of the 80s under then and now PM Dr Mahathir had focused on the drive towards economic development through the transformation of the country’s economic base.

Agricultural diversification of earlier years had given way to a rapid industrialisation with the introduction of the national car, privatisation of various companies and the creation of government-linked companies (GLCs).

In the 90s, the country had moved rapidly. We saw the explosion of the information communication and technology.

It had become the new economic power base as wealth was created out of ingenious ideas and radical innovations.

During the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98, such technology and knowledge economy helped affected countries — including Malaysia — to return to economic soundness.

Malaysia at that time had created the Multimedia Super Corridor.

Dr Washington SyCip of the Philippines in the TAR Lecture series had analysed the managerial challenges and responses to the 1997/1998 economic crisis. Former Finance Minister Tun Daim Zainuddin had assessed how technology could be managed for growth and development.

The TAR Lecture series is a proven knowledge-sharing platform, especially in addressing the challenges faced by today’s emerging markets (EMs).

In 2002, former Bank Negara Malaysia governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz spoke about building a resilient and competitive economy.

The audience had also in 1993 heard from Bata Ltd director Sonja I Bata who delved on “Customer Orientation in the Global Enterprise”, opening their eyes over the global prospect.

Since then, the TAR Lecture series has come full circle, having addressed economic, financial and technological issues.

The series has also been honoured by members of the royal circle who shared about the importance of preserving ethics, integrity and social development.

In 1984, the late Sultan of Perak Sultan Azlan Muhibbuddin Shah delivered a lecture on “The Supremacy of the Law in Malaysia”, while in 2009, the series then heard from Raja Muda Perak, Raja Dr Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah, who delivered a talk entitled “Imbued with Integrity, Endowed with Ethics: Foundation for Managing Malaysia through Enlightened, Value-driven Leadership”.

For the TAR Lecture series 2018, the focus will be on women empowerment. Permaisuri Johor Raja Zarith Sofiah Sultan Idris Shah will be the guest speaker.

As an academician, columnist and philanthropist, her passion for raising the education standards in Malaysia is widely admired and closely followed. Sharing her thoughts about women in the country and their role will be eagerly awaited at the 28th TAR Lecture series.

MIM said the lectures are not just about tools and techniques, but about human potential and our capacity to fulfil that potential.

There is a renewed sense of enlightenment, restoration and of the human spirit to create a better world for the future generation, which MIM hopes to accentuate and drive the nation.