Former Malaysian prime minister Datuk Seri Mahathir Mohamad was sworn in as the country’s 10th prime minister on Wednesday at a ceremony in Putrajaya in the state of Pahang.
Here are the important biographical details about the man widely dubbed the “Trump of Asia”:
Born: Hari Hari, on Sept. 17, 1930, in Labuan, the second-largest of the 12 districts in the state of Pahang.
Family: His father is Mahathir Mohamad’s mother; his stepfather is Akdenizun, who was imprisoned for a couple of years in 1939. Mahathir Mohamad was born during the Japanese occupation of Malaya. Mahathir Mohamad’s brother, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, was Indonesia’s prime minister from 2003 to 2009.
Educated: Later in life, Mahathir Mohamad attended legal studies at what is now Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM), Malaysia’s national university, where he passed his examination in 1961.
He also passed a civil service examination, needed by the Cabinet as the only candidate to serve in the Armed Forces (Ketuanan Melayu), in 1962. During a meeting of the Consultative Assembly of 1965, when he was Home Minister, he called on all the able-bodied Malay Muslims in the country to go fight in the 1965 war in Indochina.
After he finished his studies, Mahathir Mohamad joined Bumiputera Sesnoj, a joint-venture development corporation in Sabah between Dutch colonial government and the Malay Armed Forces. It went bankrupt in 1969, and the Mahathir Mohamad was invited to become Deputy Minister of Iskandar, a federal oil and gas state at the time.
From 1969 to 1974, Mahathir Mohamad worked as adviser to the Economic Reform Commission in the Federal Government of Malaysia. In 1976, he became the first Prime Minister of Malaysia. He then served as minister of finance, defence and energy. In 1981, he was appointed Finance Minister of Peninsular Malaysia.
In 1984, Mahathir Mohamad was named First Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister by Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein. In 1991, he was appointed Prime Minister of Malaysia, and a year later, then Malaysian leader Anwar Ibrahim was named Prime Minister, the first time an opposition leader has won the top position in Malaysia.
His anti-corruption and human rights actions led to his ouster as Prime Minister.
Mahathir Mohamad was known as the “Iron Man” while serving as prime minister. His fierce attitude to opposing forces and corruption made him a dictator-for-life. His strident comments against minority groups often strained relations in his country.
The Asian Development Bank in a report in 2016 called Mahathir Mohamad the “Fearsome Leader” that described his outspoken policies as less moderate than they had been when he was first premier.
Where He Went After His ouster as Prime Minister: He joined the opposition, becoming leader of Bersatu (Parti Bersatu Rakyat) and lead the investigation of corruption of former prime minister Najib Razak. In 2018, Mahathir Mohamad declared that he would be leading the opposition in the upcoming general election.
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Personal: He was always close to his mother, especially after his father died in a plane crash in 1942. He reportedly developed an obsession with building the Musi Peng Charan in Labuan, which led him to build it and turn it into a resort. He owned many business and the world’s richest men were his friend or business associates.
Highlights: In the 1980s, after decades of being hated by many of his neighbors, Mahathir Mohamad was forced out of power. Soon after he left, media organizations formed an alliance to oppose his government, and financed a campaign to arrest him on corruption allegations, calling him “Mr. Nebbish.” Mahathir Mohamad was put under house arrest. The Anti-Corruption Commission eventually expelled him and charged him with criminal breach of trust and abuse of power and unlawful detention. Mahathir Mohamad was finally detained under the Emergency Regulations and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. However, he managed to spend half the sentence on medical leave, and returned to power in 1988. The draconian regime of the Razak regime, which some refer to as an extension of the dictatorship of the 1940s, was annulled by the Najib Razak government in 2013.
On Oct. 6, he was appointed prime minister