Mahathir Mohamad is the former prime minister of Malaysia. A trained doctor, he had two stints in power - the first from 1981 to 2003 when he led the Barisan Nasional ruling coalition and the second from 2018 to February 24, 2020, when he was backed by the Pakatan Harapan ruling coalition. Mahathir had joined forces with his on-again, off-again rival Anwar Ibrahim to pull off a surprise election victory in 2018 to oust disgraced former leader Najib Razak, who has been implicated in a multi-billion dollar scandal involving state investment firm 1MDB.
Legal threat comes after PM Anwar Ibrahim made a thinly veiled attack on Mahathir Mohamad, potentially reigniting a decades-old feud.
Despite being dubbed a ‘ghost mall’, the Malay-Muslim concept Malakat Mall is the busiest place in the Cyberjaya district full of abandoned shops and restaurants.
Anwar Ibrahim’s victory in the Malaysian election caps one of the most remarkable political turnarounds in modern Southeast Asian history.
Muhyiddin makes dramatic return after being forced to step down as prime minister in 2021, with Perikatan Nasional on brink of taking federal power.
Failure by the main parties to win a majority means a combination of them would have to build a majority alliance to form a government.
Malaysia’s tumultuous political scene, coloured by corruption and politicking, is further complicated by racial policies, the rising cost of living, economic uncertainty and an election held during monsoon season.
Umno’s corruption-tainted Barisan Nasional coalition promises ‘stability’. But internal strife and growing support for Anwar Ibrahim’s Pakatan Harapan could yet deny them a return to power – as could the ‘unprecedented amount’ of undecided voters.
A crowded election field involving the three main coalitions, tens of parties and a record 108 independent candidates will add to the challenges posed by the influx of millions of young voters who are voting for the first time, according to local pollsters.
About 1.39 million first-time voters are in the 18-20 age group, but a political system typically run by much older people is out of touch with the needs of the country’s youth.
Calls unlikely to inspire any confidence, observers say, as even Anwar appears to have had enough of his former mentor’s overtures.
Malaysian voters diverge on how best to avoid a return of Umno to pre-2018 strength, with some still counting on Pakatan Harapan and some looking to new parties like youth-centric Muda.
Young people are ready to move on from the old guard, whose reputation has been sullied by their longevity and a series of corruption allegations, he says.
The two-time leader says he is standing for election because of the people’s will and desire to block former protégé Najib Razak from retaking power.
Anwar will face caretaker premier Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who was endorsed by the ruling United Malays National Organisation during November 19 poll.
Malaysia’s ringgit, languishing at a 24-year low against the dollar, is poised to weaken further on concern a national election may threaten the government’s ability to push through a deficit-busting budget.
Malaysia’s elder statesman will defend his seat of Langkawi in the coming general election, but won’t say if he would be PM a third time if his new political alliance wins.
Analysts say it might be a ‘tall order’ for any group to win a supermajority this time, given the larger number of parties and coalitions in the fight.
The opposition leader said his three-party alliance still has strong support, while there is infighting and graft within PM Ismail Sabri’s administration.
Mahathir, 97, said the queen was ‘a good example of a constitutional monarch’ and he ‘did not expect’ her death.
Since the watershed 2018 polls, political parties have been scrambling to reinvigorate their line-ups to meet heightened voter expectations.
Mahathir was admitted to hospital on Wednesday after testing positive for the coronavirus, and will remain quarantined at home until Tuesday, a statement said. He has received at least three doses of Covid vaccine, the last known shot in November 2021.
The 97-year-old, who has a history of heart problems, has been admitted to the National Heart Institute for observation, his office said. He underwent a procedure at the institute earlier this year.
For the first time ever, an ex-Malaysian PM is serving time for a criminal offence. Some see the verdict as the ‘tip of the iceberg’ and a victory for justice – but Mahathir’s not so sure.
‘He will come back and he wants to become the prime minister once again,’ said Malaysia’s longest-serving leader of Najib Razak, who faces prison time if a court upholds his conviction this week.