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Mahathir has been referred to as a leader who not only had charisma and public speaking skills, but one who invested heavily in his country’s economic development.
While Malaysia is a constitutional monarch with a Sultan or King as head of state, during his time as the Prime Minister, Mahathir brought about constitutional amendments that sought to limit the power of the monarch.
His rule as Prime Minister was not left unchallenged.
As schools were closed during the Japanese occupation of Malaya in World War II, Mahathir started off in small businesses.
He first started selling coffee, and later was a hawker of snacks, mostly pisang goring (banana fritters).
After becoming Malaysia’s Prime Minister, Mahathir is known to have brought in a host of political and economic reforms.
He was insistent on bringing about reforms that would increase his country’s self-reliance and assertiveness.
In 1964, he was elected to parliament, as a member of the United Malays National Organization (UMNA).
He was brought back into UMNO’s fold in 1970, and in 1974 was elected to parliament, and also took on the portfolio of the Minister of Education.
Mahathir bin Mohamad, in full Datuk Seri Mahathir bin Mohamad, Mohamad also spelled Mohamed or Muhammed, (born December 20, 1925, Alor Setar, Kedah [Malaysia]), Malaysian politician who served as prime minister of Malaysia (1981–2003; 2018– ), overseeing the country’s transition to an industrialized nation.
Mahathir, the son of a schoolmaster, was educated at Sultan Abdul Hamid College and the University of Malaya in Singapore, where he studied medicine.