>> Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tun Dr Mahathir bin Mohamed whose real name is Mahathir s/o Iskandar Kutty is a figure who needs no introduction. He is the fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia which he held for 22 years. From 1981 to 2003, he is the country's longest serving Prime Minister as well as in the whole of Asia.

Tun Dr Mahathir, or in short Dr M has very much contributed, as the leader of the country the modernization of the country, promoting his ideology of Vision 2020 where he aimed to turn the country into an industrial one by then. He put forward plans that were supposed to be implemented in stages in order to achieve that, most of which was done during his term in office. This however has changed much ever since his retirement and the taking over of the office by his successor.

Dr M was also the first Prime Minister who came from a social background whereas all the Prime Ministers before him had royal or elite ties.

During his term as the PM, he was one who won the hearts of many for making his stand against the western values and culture and most prominently for seeing the country through during the economic crisis.

Born in December 20, 1925, Dr Mahathir hailed from the state of Kedah, at the capital of Alor Star, whose father was a school teacher. His father was Indian who migrated from Kerala, who married a malay lady and sold banana fritters during the second world war. His early education was through vernacular school and at the Sultan Abdul Hamid College in the city. After that he was educated in Singapore at the King Edward VII Medical College. During that time, he wrote in his contributions under the name “Che Det” to the Straits Times, a name he uses in his blog today.

After graduation, he returned to Malaysia where he became a medical officer with the Malayan government. He then married his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, who was his colleague and classmate in 1956. Subsequently, he started his own medical practice. Together he had five children, three boys and two girls. Two of his sons went on to be involved in politics and corporate sectors while his daughter Marina Mahathir is known for her involvement as an AIDs activist as well as her NGO stance in the local media.

Dr Mahathir's political involvement is filled with events and significance where he started being active in 1945. He joined the Umno (United Malays National Organization) in 1946.

He was first elected into the Parliament in the 1964 general elections via the Kota Setar Selatan seat more than 60% majority votes. The following elections (1969)saw him losing the seat by 989 votes after declaring that he did not need to win through Chinese votes. After the riots that took place in 13 May 1969, Dr M publicly criticized the Prime Minister then Tunku Abdul Rahman, for favouring the Chinese in handling his government which led to the riots. For doing that, he was expelled from Umno.

At this time, he wrote a book 'The Malay Dilemma' which he explain the reasons of the May 13 riots but was banned by Tunku. Some of his rationale though eventually was used by the preceding Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak when he constructed the New Economic Policy (NEP). Dr M then rejoined Umno in 1972 and subsequently appointed Senator a year later. He then gave up that post to contest in the general elections, standing in the Kubang Pasu constituency. Through that winning ticket, he became the Minister of Education. He then went on to become the vice-president of Umno, a post he held with 2 others.

The Prime Minister then, Tun Hussein Onn subsequently appointed him as the Deputy Prime Minister before he was given the Minister of Trade and Industry portfolio as well in 1978.

In July 1981, Tun Hussein Onn resigned as the Prime Minister, subsequently handing the country's top post to Dr M.

Significant events.

Some of the more controversial happenings under Dr mahathir's leadership include removing of the veto power and the royal immunity from prosecution. Before he took on this action, passing of any bill of law required royal consent but with what he took on, royal assent is considered legal after a 30 days period.

Dr Mahathir Mohamad was also known to be responsible for the removal of Tun Salleh Abas, the Lord President of the Supreme Court together with 3 other supreme court justices prior to the investigation of misconduct hearing of Umno, the party that he is also the president.

Source from : Helmi - Malaysia Today

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