Malaysia’s Mahathir to stand for parliament seat at 97

Bangkok, Oct 12 (EFE).- At 97, former Malaysian president Mahathir Mohamad will stand this year in the general elections to renew his seat in parliament hoping to repeat the feat of 2018 and defeat the ruling coalition.

The decision was taken after Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob dissolved parliament Monday to call the elections, which will be held in the next 60 days in the midst of a crisis of more than two years.

Mahathir, who this year has been hospitalized for heart problems and after contracting Covid-19, is running for election as leader of the Homeland Fighters Party (Pejuang), which he created in August 2020 after resigning as prime minister.

At a press conference Tuesday, the former prime minister said his goal is to defeat the United Malays National Organization, the main party in the ruling coalition, which he accuses of corruption at the polls.

He did not confirm if he will run again as a candidate for prime minister.

With a total of 24 years as prime minister, Mahathir is the longest-serving leader in Malaysia and in 2018 became the longest-serving head of government in the world when he was elected after a 15-year hiatus from his first stage in power.

Four years ago, Mahathir led a coalition that defeated his former party, in power since independence in 1957, and ousted Prime Minister Najib Razak, embroiled in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad state fund corruption scandals.

Najib, who ruled from 2009 to 2018, was tried and is serving a 12-year prison sentence, while his wife, Rosmah Mansor, was sentenced last month to 10 years in prison for taking bribes.

However, Mahathir resigned in March 2020 after an internal crisis in the government coalition, allowing the UMNO to return to power in 2021.

Of humble origins and a doctor by profession, Mahathir became the leader of the UMNO at 56 and in his first and longest period in power defended an ethnonationalist policy in favor of Malays against Chinese and Indian minorities.

He also promoted the modernization of the country, with projects such as the iconic Petronas Twin Towers and the administrative capital of Putrajaya, thanks to oil money.

Mahathir led the persecution against his old party colleague and former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim, who was sentenced in 1999 to nine years in prison on sodomy charges he denied.

However, faced with corruption by the state fund 1MDB, Mahathir left UMNO and joined forces with Anwar to depose Najib, who in his day was also lauded by the long-serving former prime minister. EFE


Related Articles

Back to top button