Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia
Group Assignment for Malaysian Studies (MPW 1133)
QUESTION: Discuss the background and contribution of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, 4th Prime Minister of Malaysia.
Tun Dr Mahathir Muhamad
“Malaysians have all sorts of emotions when it comes to Tun Dr Mahathir,… You just have to say his name, and you get all sorts of reactions…” Comments made by Lina Tan (Editor and Producer of Mahathir, on the History Channel (Astro Channel 555) Yes, it is true, when you mention the name Mahathir, even among students, you surely get all sort of comments and reactions. His name Dr M is synonym to the vast development of modern Malaysia. He is a very well-known political leader who served as Prime Minister of Malaysia for 21 long years, making him Malaysia’s longest-serving Prime Minister, and one of the longest serving leaders in Asia. He is always remembered as the man behind Malaysia’s rapid modernization. He is also known for his criticisms towards western and developed countries, considered to be one of the Asia’s most influential leaders and noted in the Western world as an outspoken critic of Western Style of globalization. ((http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki) In this group work, we are going to discuss in detail the background and contributions of Dr Mahathir as the Fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia.
Dr Mahathir Background
Real name of Dr Mahathir is Mahathir bin Muhamad. He was born in Alor Setar, Kedah, Malaysia on 20 December 1925. His Father’s name is Mohamad bin Iskandar. Mahathir was the youngest child of nine children of Mohamad Iskandar who was a schoolteacher and Wan Tampawan who was a housewife. He was mixed blood of Indian and Malay. His father, a Malayalee Muslim, was an Indian, originated from Kerala, India, while his mother, was a Malay.
During the Japanese Occupation of Malaya, Mahathir sold pisang goring (banana fritters) and other snacks to supplement his family income. His first school was a Malay vernacular school. Then, he continued his education at the Sultan Abdul Hamid College in Alor Star. After that, he went to King Edward VII Medical College (now known as National University of Singapore) in Singapore. During his study there, he was an editor of a medical student magazine called The Cauldron, and he also wrote for the The Straits Times newspaper using the nickname “Che Det”
Tun Dr graduated in MBBS in 1953 from King Edward VII College of Medicine, Universiti Malaya, Singapore.
Dr M’s outstanding leadership talent was obviously shown during his college years. He was President of the Muslim Society in the college. Upon his graduation in 1953, Dr M joined the Malayan government service as a medical officer. In 1957 he set his own private practice in Alor Star after he left the government service. His private practice really thrived. He was able to own a Pontiac Catalina, a luxury car, and employ an ethnic Chinese chauffeur (even though majority of chauffeurs in Malaysia at that time were Malays). Some critics believe that this foreshadowed a later hallmark of Dr M’s politics, which focused on the “cultivation of such emblem of power”.
On 5th August 1956, Mahathir married Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali who was his fellow doctor and former classmate in college. They were blessed with seven children, four sons and three daughters: Marina Mahathir, Mirzan Mahathir, Melinda Mahathir, Mokhzani Mahathir, Mukhriz Mahathir, Maizura Mahathir and Mazhar Mahathir. Both his sons, Mukhriz and Mokhzani are businessmen as well as politicians. His eldest daughter, Marina is a well-known Malaysian writer and AIDS activist.
Early Political Career
Dr Mahathir’s political career began when he was elected member of the House of Representatives for Kota Setar Selatan in 1957. He remained such until 1964.
In the third general election of 1964, Dr Mahathir was elected Member of Parliament for Kota Setar Selatan after...
References: 3. Robin Adhshead, Mahathir of Malaysia: Statemen and Leaders, 2002.
4. Faizal Yusup, Bicara Tentang Mahathir, (2004)Pekan Ilmu Publications Sdn Bhd
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