Academia in Malaysia has long been established, although not as premier as the Ivy League’s. However, it continues to strive outstandingly. Carrying the core duties of teaching, research and professional service, Malaysian academicians decide on their academic journey and destiny towards excellence. With components of the core business, the direction has to be led by leadership capabilities to ensure that the institutions of higher education in Malaysia stand at par in academic excellence with other renowned institutions of the world. Therefore, this paper attempts to apply the landmark work of more than two decades of Kouzes and Posner’s The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership as the basis that underpins the academic practices in helping build effective Malaysian academic leadership. This critical academic overview should be able to act as the foundation for what the future of academic leadership can contribute to sustain, despite the various challenges that set to assail the shore of academic demand, pressure and uncertainties. The common focus on teaching and learning, research and professional contribution should help to build a more resilient institution of higher education of world class stature. With the increasingly diverse expectations, leadership practices and skills as proposed by Kouzes and Posner contribute to improve the level of academic preparation for the concomitant inertia of faculties and the cohorts in the Malaysian academia.