Dr Mahathir Mohamad is the current Prime Minister of Malaysia, serving in this position for the second time. He first served as Prime Minister from 1981-2003. At 93 years old, he is the world’s oldest sitting head of government.
Prime Minister: He was the key figure behind the transition of Malaysia’s economy from being agricultural-based into a newly industrialized market economy. He is noted for his support for liberal Muslim values and has established Islamic institutions such as the International Islamic University of Malaysia.
Determined winner: Mahathir is a dominant political figure. In his first tenure as Prime Minister he won five consecutive general elections as well as seeing off party rivals to the leadership. Even when retired from politics he established the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission to focus on victims of abuse in Iraq, Lebanon, and the Palestinian Territories. In May 2012, George W Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and their legal advisers Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, William Haynes, Jay Bybee, and John Yoo were found guilty of war crimes.
Criticisms: Mahathir has been criticised for his record on civil liberties and for the trials and tribulations that his former Deputy Prime Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, endured after being sacked by Mahathir in 1998.
Miraculous Victory of 2018: In 2017, Mahathir registered a new political party and had it join Pakatan Harapan (Pact of Hope), a political coalition. In January 2018, Mahathir was announced as the Pakatan Harapan coalition candidate for prime minister. This was part of an understanding that if successful, he would pardon Anwar Ibrahim and hand over the role to him. The Pakatan Harapan coalition won the 2018 elections decisively and Mahathir was sworn in as prime minister on 10 May 2018. He is the first prime minister not to represent the Barisan Nasional coalition.