On Wednesday, 09 May 2018 Pakistan had felt the terrible jolts of 6.4 Richter scale earthquakes. And at the same time Malaysians also faced a political earth quake in the shape of Mahathir Mohammad. Ex Leader of Malaysia aged 92 years would take oath on Thursday, 10 May 2018 after shocking election victory over his rival Najib Razak, the most scandal-plagued premier of Malaysia, which the country could have. When Mahathir Mohammad will take charge as PRIME MINISTER, he would be the world’s oldest leader.
Mahathir’s return is in fact the reconciliation with his jailed opposition icon Anwar Ibrahim; you can say his former nemesis. Mahathir Mohammad also known has “Dr. M” in Malaysia served as prime minister for 22 years i.e. from 1981 to 2003. He is the longest-serving democratically elected leader in the world and in Asia also.
Mahathir takes the credit for changing Malaysia from a rubber dependent country divided in many ethnic rivalries into well-oiled, high tech roaring Asian tiger. He became respected voice on the international platform and also helped Malaysians to have pride in them. He was also the leader of United Malays National Organization (UMNO) political party. His strategies brought rapid economic growth and development in Malaysia.
Mahathir, the son of a lower middle class health worker and school teacher, was born in December 1925. He was the youngest of 10 children; he grew up in British colony and in Chinese and Indian dominated economy. Mahathir was a hard working student. After school he used to sell Banana fritters and coffee. He got his physician degree from Singapore at King Edward VII College of Medicine. He practiced as doctor for few years before taking up politics as his career. His better half is also a physician and has 3 sons and 4 daughters.
Mahathir was first time elected in parliament in the year 1964. From this day he never looked back. The first reforms he brought in the system were, when he was appointed as Education Minister. He opened up a series of schools and colleges where the policy of teaching in Malay rather than English was so much encouraged. Under Mahathir Malaysia was remarkable stable. The people saw no coups, blood baths or any major uprising. Although, Mahathir was not democrat, he was also not a dictator. Once voted by ASIAWEEK as the 4th most powerful people in ASIA. Chandra Muzaffar of TIMES wrote, “His power pervades. His authority penetrated. His influence permeates.” Alan Spires’s wrote in the WASHIGTON POST, Mahathir, has made a career of confrontation. Along the way, he has become the most dominant figure in his country's history and has sought to propel Malaysia into the ranks of the developed world through the sheer force of his will.”
After 22 years of premiership he finally retired in October 2003. He handed over the charge to his successor Abdullah Bin Ahmad Badawi, who had won the general elections. He left the office at the age of 77; He was one of the last great Asian strongmen like, Marcos, Suharto and Lee Kuan Yew to go. Just to add he is also the author of 16 books. He was also titled by Malaysian people as “THE FATHER OF MODERNIZATION” for his work in economic development.
Mahathir Mohammad is one of the few leaders whom Imran Khan, Chief of PTI admires a lot. In 2012, interview to THE GUARDIAN, Khan named few world leaders he admired. He named Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Turkish President), Lula Da Silva (Brazilian Premier) and Malaysia’s Mahathir Mohammad along with Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore.
General election 2018 are just around the corner, its yet not clear who is going to be the next prime minister but undoubtedly Khan is one of the strong candidate for this office. The day when Malaysia got Mahathir, Khan was able to draw attention to the group of lawmakers from South Punjab to join his party, which may have very fruitful results in coming elections.
Mahathir led coalition used a word MALAY TSUNAMI, a metaphor to describe the waves of change into the system; the same has been also used by KHAN to describe his huge political rallies around Pakistan. KPK a northwestern province is ruled by Khan’s party and we a BILLION TREE TSUNAMI and initiative to fight the climate change. This change has got true conservation success stories by international organizations.
In 2006, on the request of Khan, Mahathir Mohammad visited Pakistan to attend a conference, “A Clash of Civilizations or A Clash of Interest?” This seminar was attended by many intellectuals, columnists, journalists, retired generals, bureaucrats and prominent figures of the city and above all the leaders of all the political parties present in the country.
Now having said all this, we know this victory of Malaysian people comes around the same time when Pakistan is also gearing up for its next general elections. I would say that most popular leader in at present in Pakistan, be it for his looks or his political persona, PTI Chief Imran Khan has always admired Malaysian Leader for as long as one can remember. At present in Pakistan today, there is mix of potent anger and uncertainty. The country is unstable and astonishingly resilient; it’s not only suffering the heat of extremist violence but also going through terrible economic problems.
In past few months, Khan has held a series of political rallies; Jalsa’s and corner meetings drawing attention to more than 100K people. In term of popularity Khan is at present the most popular in his whole political span and in coming elections according to political gurus he can make a break through. So what will KHAN do if he comes in power???
At the moment he is very much thick on aspiration and thin on practical policy. I believe when he comes in power the first thing he will do is that he will cut government expenditure and raise the level of tax collection. As he said earlier in his jalsa’s that he will turn the big villas and mansions of senior officials into libraries or museum, like after Iranian revolution, just to show how the elite class lives. He would solve the energy crisis, basic health facilities and education emergencies, he would also pull out Pakistan from the war on terror, will force the army to withdraw its forces from border zone. I doubt would he would be able to make country’s powerful army to obey such directives, as he has very unhealthy relations with army, but his critics allege that he is very much close to the establishment.
Foreign policy, as far as the relation with States, he is very much clear with his most famous words, “We need to be a friend of American, but not a hired gun," he says. "We will take no aid from them. We will stand on our own feet, with a fully sovereign foreign policy and no terrorism from our soil.” Now which leader does he actually admire? The moderate Islamist Turkish PM, Lula Da Silva of Brazil who forced a better redistribution of this country’s newly generated wealth, Lee Kuan and Mahathir Mohammad of Singapore and Malaysia who actually are authoritarians. But it really does not matter, if Khan comes by any chance into PM office, he will do the things in his own way.
Khan is not that dumb and at the same time not too much intellectual either. He is at present riding on the wave of public liking and probably this wave could carry him to the office of prime minister. He has passed figure of 65, this is the only thing worrying him around, but when he looks down from the Bani Gala hilltop he says, “Pakistan is going to go through the biggest change ever. Behold a revolution is on its way”
By: Yasir Imtiaz Awan