Mahathir will return to office 37 years after becoming Malaysian prime minister in July 1981, serving until October 2003
STEPHEN LENDMAN | Caravan Daily
TUN MAHATHIR MOHAMAD’S Pakatan Harapan bloc won 113 of Malaysia’s 222 parliamentary seats – defeating the long-ruling right-wing Barisan Nasional (National Front).
He’ll form the nation’s next government – scheduled to be sworn in Thursday at 5:00 PM local time.
It was delayed, why uncertain. Once sworn in, Mahathir will return to office 37 years after becoming Malaysian prime minister in July 1981, serving until October 2003.
Ahead of his swearing in, he urged proceeding with no delay, saying otherwise “we have no government. When we have no government we have no constitution, and no laws.”
He described his triumph as winning “not just a few votes, not just a few seats, but a very substantial majority.”
Prime Minister Najib Razak conceded defeat, saying he and his colleagues “accept the verdict of the people.”
No single party won a majority. Mahathir’s four-party Pakatan Harapan bloc will form a new government.
At age-92, he’ll be Malaysia’s oldest political leader. He’s remarkably vibrant for his age, maintaining a rigorous schedule, not wishing to retire.
Over the past dozen years, he showed no visible signs of aging. He attributes his vigor to not overeating.
Last year, he said “I am not completely healthy. I had heart problems, I had some pneumonia at one time, and I have periods when I get bad coughs when the lungs get infected,” adding:
“I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, I don’t overeat. I eat just enough food to keep me going.
“There is a tendency for people over a certain age to become obese. They have a big stomach and to satisfy themselves, they drink and they overeat, which places a burden on their heart.”
“I have been about 62-64 (kg) for years. I can wear my clothing made 30 years ago. I happen to be healthy (enough). I can do this work.”
As political leader of his country, he’ll again have an enormous responsibility to serve it well.
It’s no simple task for a younger man. Mahathir withstood the rigors of campaigning. He appears fit and able to again lead his nation as its elder statesman.