Mahathir turns 95 today

·3-min read
Mahathir turns 95 today
Mahathir turns 95 today

Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad turns 95 today.

Born on July 10, 1925, Mahathir is the only politician in the country who has held the country's top executive post twice and also holds the record as the world's oldest prime minister when he was re-elected in May 2018.

He is also the longest-serving Malaysian premier so far, surviving five general elections as chairperson of the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition and as leader of Umno, the largest party in BN. This allowed him to stay in power for 22 years beginning in 1981 before resigning in 2003.

Mahathir returned to power after he led opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan to victory in the 14th General Election against BN in May 2018.

It was the first time the Umno-led coalition had lost federal power after over 60 years.

However, after only 22 months of rule, Harapan was toppled in a political coup dubbed the "Sheraton Move" in February earlier this year, which saw Mahathir resigning after saying he lost the majority of support from MPs.

He had since lost his position as Bersatu chairperson, a party which he co-founded in 2016. Party president and current Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who led the Sheraton Move coup, sacked Mahathir for allegedly breaching the Bersatu's constitution by sitting with the opposition during the May 18 parliamentary session.

Mahathir was also going for his third appointment as PM in a plan by Harapan to launch a counter-coup against the current Perikatan Nasional-led government. However, an impasse over the candidacy for the PM post has led Mahathir to withdraw from the race against PKR president Anwar Ibrahim.

The nonagenarian is married to Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali for 64 years (since 1956), with whom he has seven children. Among their children include former Kedah menteri besar, Mukhriz; prominent social activist Marina; and businessperson Mokhzani.

Meanwhile, an aide to Mahathir this morning posted a tribute to him in a birthday wish to the politician.

Malek Redzuan, who is in Mahathir's press team, expressed his appreciation for being given a chance to work with and learn from the veteran's vast life experience.

"He has lived since 1925, which means he had gone through four British monarchs, 16 Malaysian Kings, 16 US presidents, four emperors of Japan, and eight Malaysian prime ministers.

"And, of course, he had seen the time when Malaya was under the British, when Malaya was under Japan, time of Tanah Melayu, the Malays' rejection of the Malayan Union, the formation of the Malaysian Federation, the separation of Singapore from Malaysia, up until today.

"This means what I have seen with my eyes is not even close to Tun M's experience. So, I am nowhere near as good as him.

"I hope I will continue to have this opportunity and time to learn from Mahathir. It's true what people have told me, not everyone gets to attach and learn directly with a nationalist," Malek said in his Facebook post.

Meanwhile, former Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, whose premiership was ended when Mahathir led Harapan to topple the BN administration two years ago, also posted birthday wishes to the nonagenarian.

"Happy 95th birthday, sir. I wish that Tun Dr Mahathir will be blessed, peace, have good health and long life," he said on Facebook.

Mahathir's stalwart, A Kadir Jasin in his birthday wish quoted a phrase from the famous Lebanese-American writer Khahlil Gibran.

"The things which the child loves remain in the domain of the heart until old age. The most beautiful thing in life is that our souls remain hovering over the places where we once enjoyed ourselves. I am one of those who remember those places regardless of distance or time - Khahlil Gibran.

"Happy 95th Birthday Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad. God bless."

For the record, Mahathir has two birth dates. According to his aide, July 10, 1925, was the actual date when Mahathir was born, while another, Dec 20 of the same year was the date when Mahathir's father registered his birth.