At 93 years old, Tun Dr Mahathir’s enduring charisma and rapier wit are showing no signs of waning. In a political plot twist fuelled by voter outrage, Tun Mahathir led the opposition coalition then, Pakatan Harapan, to its first election victory last year.
Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown, who wrote the profile of Tun Mahathir for Time magazine’s 100 most influential people, has described him as a “formidable old warhorse” who united a nation during a gruelling campaign. Tun Mahathir, already one of the world’s most durable political survivors, emerged from retirement at age 92 to put the country back on track.
“You don’t have to be young to fight the power. Take Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the former Malaysian Prime Minister who came out of retirement last year to lambaste his successor Najib Razak, who is accused of embezzling millions of dollars from the country’s 1MDB development fund.
“Venting moral outrage, the colloquially called Dr. M swept back to power in a landslide election victory in May 2018 at age 92,” Rewcastle-Brown remarked.
Tun Mahathir is set to coax the nation back to health before handing power to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, a move that the British investigative journalist has illustrated as “re-establishing democracy in a country that almost teetered into totalitarianism”.
The Pakatan Harapan chairman was listed in the “Leaders’ category, together with a diverse list that included US president Donald Trump, president of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping, Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Pope Francis and U.S. Representative for New York's 14th congressional district Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
See the full list of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people here.