About Tun Mahathir Mohamad
Tun Mahathir Mohamad is the fourth prime minister of Malaysia. Serving from 1981 to 2003, he holds the distinction of being the longest-serving prime minister of the country and arguably the most famous and controversial. He is credited for enginnering Malaysia's transformation from an agricultural to an industrialized country. Mahathir is also known for his outspoken criticism of western and developed countries.
Mahathir was born in Alor Setar, Kedah, the youngest of nine children. His father, school master Mohamad Iskandar, is of mixed parentage, being a son of a Malayalee Muslim father from Kerala, India and a Malay mother. Mahathir's own mother is also a Malay.
Mahathir attended Malay school in Sebrang, Perak, before attending Sultan Abdul Hamid College in Alor Setar. From there, he continued his studies at King Edward VII Medical College (which today is part of the National University of Singapore). During that time, he also contributed articles to The Straits Times, using the pseudonym Che Det, which he employs today for his blog.
Mahathir married the future Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali in August, 1956. Their first child, Marina Mahathir, was born in 1957, followed by six other children, all together four sons and three daughters.
Mahathir was elected a Member of Parliament of the Kota Setar Selatan seat during the third general election of 1964, when he defeated the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party's (PAS) candidate by a majority of 60.2%. He however lost that seat in the following election to PAS by a mere 989 votes.
Mahathir was sacked from UMNO Supreme Council on 12 July 1969 following the distribution of his letter to Tunku Abdul Rahman, the then prime minister, criticising the latter's handling of the 13 May race riot. He was also expelled from UMNO on 26 September 1969. During this time, he wrote the book "The Malay Dilemma" which was published in 1970 and was promptly banned by Tunku Abdul Rahman.
Mahathir rejoined UMNO in 1972 and was appointed Senator in 1973. He gave up the senatorship in 1974 to stand for election, where he was returned unopposed for the seat of Kubang Pasu. That year, he was made Minister of Education. The next year, he became of of the three vice-presidents of UMNO. On 15 September 1978, he was appointed by Tun Hussein Onn as the Deputy Prime Minister.
Mahathir became the prime minister of Malaysia on 16 July 1981 following the stepping down of Tun Hussein Onn for health reasons. He served for 22 years in office, retiring on 31 October, 2003. Upon his retirement, he was awarded the title Tun, which is the highest civilian honour in Malaysia.