Ex-Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad: The stalwart gunning to win in polls at the age of 97

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Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Tuesday (October 11) that he will contest in the general elections expected next month to defend his seat. 

Although, there’s no indication whether or not the 97-year-old would consider becoming the prime minister for a third time if his political alliance wins. 

While addressing a news conference, Mahathir said: “We have not decided who will be prime minister because the prime minister candidate is only relevant if we win.” 

Mahathir says he is willing to work with anyone to defeat UMNO. 

Who is Mahathir Mohamad? 

Mahathir Mohamad is a stalwart in the Asian political spectrum. Despite his age and a health scare this year, his willingness to defend his seat is quite commendable. 

As Mahathir said, the decision prime minister candidate is not taken yet. He said it depends on the victory of his political alliance. Although, it’s not sure unless he confirms, but if he ends up being the candidate, he would be the oldest-ever candidate for the post. 

Mahathir was Malaysia’s fourth and seventh prime minister. He served as PM for the longest period of time in the nation for a total of 24 years, from July 1981 to October 2003 and then from May 2018 to March 2020. prior that, he served as deputy prime minister and in other Cabinet positions. 

Mahathir’s political career has spanned more than 75 years. He joined protests opposing citizenship policies for non-Malays, he formed the Malaysian United Indigenous Party in 2016, then formed Homeland Fighters Party in 2020 and Gerakan Tanah Air in 2022. 

Earlier, he represented Kota Setar Selatan from April 1964 to May 1969, Kubang Pasu from August 1974 to March 2004, and Langkawi since May 2018. 

Mahathir’s warning 

The former PM also predicted that disgraced former prime minister Najib Razak be freed from prison via a royal pardon if the election was won by his ruling party. 

Najib was sentenced to 12 years in prison in August after he was found guilty in the first of multiple cases involving the theft of billions of dollars from the state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). 

Mahathir told a news conference that the criminal prosecution of United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is facing 47 graft charges in a case unrelated to 1MDB, will also be dropped. 

This comes after Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob dissolved parliament on Monday (10 October) and called for an early election in response to pressure from parts of the ruling UMNO party who have remained loyal to Najib and other individuals accused of corruption. 

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