Mahathir's views are to be taught at an institute dedicated to his thinking While outgoing Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has been criticised overseas for recent comments perceived as racist and anti-Semitic, such views are being enshrined in university courses and an institute dedicated to his thinking. Dr Mahathir hands power to his deputy, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, on Friday, but efforts to immortalise his 22 years in power are already well under way. The centrepiece is the institute of strategic thinking, set up this month at the University of Utara Malaysia in his home state of Kedah. Conceived by the university's vice-chancellor, it does not as yet have a name, although the most popular suggestions are the Mahathir Institute or the Institute of Mahathir's Thinking. Professor of social science Ahmad Atory Hussain, who helped found the institute two weeks ago, said yesterday the immediate aim was to hold seminars and conferences and produce working papers. They would focus on Dr Mahathir's views on politics, education and economics. 'Dr Mahathir gave the nation tremendous development, politically, economically and socially,' Professor Ahmad said. 'His legacy goes across virtually all areas of Malaysian life. He attained tremendous success and stability with his strategy and this we have to remember for always.' The professor's beliefs are shared by other academics, who want their students to think like the 77-year-old medical doctor-turned-politician. From next year, Mara University of Technology's 100,000 students will have to take a compulsory course examining Dr Mahathir's thoughts on issues including Islam, globalisation and economic management. The University of Malaysia Sabah has introduced a course titled 'Dr Mahathir's Thoughts' and several other higher education institutions are believed to be making similar plans. There will be no shortage of material for students to pour over. Dr Mahathir, Asia's longest-serving leader, had aspirations to become a journalist before turning to medicine. A 14-volume collection of his speeches and writings was recently published. The views the books contain and students will learn worry Dr Mahathir's critics. They are concerned that younger generations of Malaysians will be forced to share what they term Dr Mahathir's 'extreme opinions' on homosexuality, Muslim superiority and Jews. An Israeli official pointed to the prime minister's speech opening the Organisation of Islamic Conference in Malaysia this month, in which he told delegates that '1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews'. 'Such comments are very, very worrying,' the official said.