Mahathir Mohamad Returning To Power As Malaysia’s Prime Minister: A Look At The 92-Year-Old’s Political Career: At the age of 92, Mahathir Mohamad will become the oldest electing leader in the world following a stunning victory in Malaysia’s general election.
Mahathir Mohamad Returning To Power As Malaysia’s Prime Minister: A Look At The 92-Year-Old’s Political Career
Where an alliance of Opposition parties spearheading by the veteran strongman claimed a majority, setting Mohamad on course for a return to the Prime Minister’s Office, he occupies for 22 years.
Official results are showing that Mahathir’s Pakatan Harapan Alliance of Hope won 113 of Parliament’s 222 seats, clinching the simple majority requiring to rule. Najib Razak’s governing coalition Barisan Nasional has 79.
Mahathir tells a news conference he is expecting to sworn in as prime minister later on Thursday.
Few are expecting Mahathir to prevail against a coalition that has to rule the Southeast Asian country since Independence from Britain six decades ago and has long relied on the support of the country’s Ethnic-Malay majority.
However, he joins hands with his one-time protege, the jailing politician Anwar Ibrahim, and together their alliance exploiting public disenchantment over the cost of living and a multi-billion-dollar scandal that has dogging Najib since the year 2015.
Mahathir’s victory was surreal for his family. That seen so complicating. Impossible. I did not dare think even though I was out there and I saw the crowds, says Mahathir’s daughter Marina.
He is a veteran, and he knows how to do this.
Who is Mahathir Mohamad?
The former doctor who is entering politics in the year 1964, Mahathir governed Malaysia with an iron fist for 22 years from the years 1981 to 2003.
With the accusations of rights abuses overshadowing a period that also saw the country transform from a sleepy Southeast Asian backwater to a relatively affluent state.
At the young age of 21, Mahathir joining United Malays National Organisation, BBC News reporting. He ran a medical practice for the seven years in his home state of Kedah before his appointment as a member of Parliament in the year 1964.
The United Malays National Organisation was a founding member of the Barisan Nasional coalition.
The BBC News is reporting further adding that in the year 1969, Mahathir lost his seat. He also writes an open letter criticising then prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman, which is letting to his expulsion from the party.
Later, Mahathir penned a controversial book titled The Malay Dilemma, in which he is asserting that the Malay population in the country has to marginalize.
However, he was also reprimanding them for apathetically accepting a second-class status.
Follows the release of the book, Mahathir was welcoming back into the party.
In the year 1974, he was re-elected to Parliament and appoints a Minister of the Education.
Four years later, Mahathir takes on the role of United Malays National Organisation’s deputy leader, and in the year 1981, he becomes prime minister.
He remembers fondly by some as a champion of the country’s Muslim Malay majority and the father of modern Malaysia, crediting with policies that are helping the economy blossom.
Mahathir’s vision to a global player inspiring the development of Kuala Lumpur’s Petronas Twin Towers.
But he was also criticised for disregarding human rights, undermining the judiciary, jailing political opponents and pushing policies that exacerbating racial divisions in the multi-ethnic country.
Frosty relationship with Australia
According to a report, Mahathir sharing a frosty relationship with Australia during his time as prime minister over his belief that Australia did not belong in Asia.
In the year 1981, his first year as prime minister, Mahathir refusing to attend the Commonwealth summit Australia hosting in the Melbourne.
In the year 1993, he is declining to participate in the inaugural Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit and pressing for Australia’s exclusion.
This lets then Australian prime minister Paul Keating label him a recalcitrant.
The bilateral relationship between the two countries did not improve during the John Howard era either, with Mahathir asserting that the then Australian prime minister did not belongs at the first East Asia summit, as Australia’s views will only reflect that of the US.
In the year 2003, his final year as prime minister, Mahathir delivering a controversial speech at an Islamic summit, in which he is discussing the Jewish domination of the world.
The Jerusalem Post is quoting Mahathir as saying, 1.3 billion Muslims cannot defeat by a few million Jews. There must be away.
And we can only find a way we stop to think, to assess our weaknesses and our strength, to planning, to strategies and then to counterattack.
We are very strong. 1.3 billion people cannot directly wipe out.
The Europeans killed six million Jews out of the 12 million. But, today the Jews rule the world through the proxy. They are getting others to fight and die for them.
His speech draws widespread criticism from Australia, the US, Western Europe and Israel.
Life as a retired prime minister
Mahathir is maintaining a vocal presence in the political arena even after he is retiring as prime minister.
He is publicly criticising his successor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
According to The New York Times, Mahathir quit the United Malays National Organisation in the year 2008.
A move many believes was a tactic aiming at forcing the resignation of his handpicking successor Badawi.
He rejoins the party after Badawi stepping down the following year.
BBC News is reporting that Badawi’s resignation is paving the way for Najib’s rise to power.
However, as allegations of corruption against Najib emerging, he lost Mahathir’s support.
Saying he was embarrassing by the United Malays National Organisation’s involvement in efforts to shield Najib from the corruption allegations, Mahathir left the organization once again in the year 2016.
The New York Times report is adding. I want to leave United Malays National Organisation because it is no longer United Malays National Organisation, he says.
It is a party dedicating to protecting Najib. I cannot be a member of such a party.
Returning to frontline politics
Mahathir’s return to frontline politics is starting when he fell out with his one-time protege Najib over allegations that vast sums were looting from sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad.
Najib and 1MDB deny any wrongdoing.
During a vicious election campaign, Mahathir is energetically touring the country, attacking Najib over his mismanagement of the economy and the 1MDB financial scandal.
The most prominent mistake that I make in my life is choosing Najib, he says in one broadside. I want to fix this mistake.
Renewed friendship with Anwar Ibrahim
In a volte-face that will have unthinkable just a few years ago, Mahathir teaming up with parties that he is suppressing while in power to take on the party he once led.
Mahathir also buries the hatchet with his fiercest critic and former deputy prime minister, Anwar Ibrahim.
Malaysia’s political landscape was shaping for nearly two decades by a bitter feud between Anwar and Mahathir.
Anwar was once a protege of the veteran prime minister, Mahathir, and the rising star of the Malaysian politics, but they are falling out in the late year 1990s.
Soon afterward, Anwar was jailed for the first time on charges of sodomy and graft, after sacking as the deputy prime minister.
He denies the allegations, dismisses them as politically motivated.
He was convicting and jailed in the year 2013, when Najib was prime minister, for another sodomy charge, which he and his supporters described as a politically-motivating attempt to end his career.
But after their years of animosity, opposition to Najib drew Anwar and Mahathir back together.
Last year, Anwar endorsing a political compact spearheading by Mahathir to fight Najib.
Mahathir has promising to seek a royal pardon for Anwar if they win the election, and once Anwar is free, to step aside and let him become prime minister.
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