Mahathir Mohamad Biography, Life, Interesting Facts


Mahathir Mohamad

Birthday :

July 10, 1925

Also Known For :

Prime Minister

Birth Place :

Alor Setar, Kedah, Malaysia

Zodiac Sign :


Mahathir Mohamad was the fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia.  Mahathir Mohamad studied to be a doctor only to become an important political figure.

Childhood And Early Life

Mahathir Mohamad was the fourth Prime Minister of MalaysiaMahathir Mohamad studied to be a doctor only to become an important political figure.

Childhood And Early Life

Mahathir Mohamad was the fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia.  Mahathir Mohamad studied to be a doctor only to become an important political figure.

Childhood And Early Life

Mahathir Mohamad was born on July 10, 1025, in Alor Setar, Malaysia.  His father was a principal.  Mahathir Mohamad was an excellent student and often kept busy.  Even when the Japanese occupation of Malaysia closed the schools, 16-year old Mahathir Mohamad sold coffee and banana fritters on the streets during that time.


Mahathir Mohamad won a scholarship to attend an English secondary school.  After graduation, Mahathir Mohamad attended the King Edward VII College of Medicine in Singapore (currently known as National University of Singapore). He graduated in 1955.


Mahathir Mohamad's start in the government took place in the United Malays National Organization (UMNO).  He was a government doctor when he joined the UMNO political party in 1946.  Mahathir Mohamad stayed in that line of work until 1956 when Mahathir Mohamad opened a private practice.  At the time, Mahathir Mohamad was the only doctor in his hometown of Alor Setar.  

Mahathir Mohamad was also active in politics even as early as college.  Mahathir Mohamad contributed to the newspaper and student journals promoting Malay rights.  Mahathir Mohamad used the pen name C.H.E. Det

Mahathir Mohamad chose not to run for office in 1959 out of protest of the current Prime Minister of the time, Tunku Abdul RahmanMahathir Mohamad won his first political race in 1964 when Mahathir Mohamad earned his seat in parliament.  During his first year, there was a great deal of tension between the Chinese and Malay. 

When Mahathir Mohamad lost the next election in 1969, Mahathir Mohamad openly criticized the Prime Minister for favoring the interest of the Chinese rather than all of the Malay people.  For that, he was expelled from the UMNO.  This did not quiet Mohamad.  Mahathir Mohamad published his first book The Malay Dilemma in 1970 to continue his criticism.  The book was banned in Malaysia.

With a new Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad returned to the UMNO in 1972 and appointed a senator in the Malaysian parliament in 1973.  From there Mahathir Mohamad continued to rise in the ranks of the government.  In 1974 he was made Minister of Education. Mahathir Mohamad won the post of vice president of the UMNO in 1976 and was assigned the role of deputy prime minister.  All of these things led up to becoming the fourth prime minister of Malaysia in 1981.

As Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad conflicted with the royal family.  However, during his 20+ years in office, Mahathir Mohamad achieved many accomplishments for himself and the people of his country. They saw economic growth and became stronger regarding trade.  Mahathir Mohamad and his progressive policies may have conflicted with some people, but Mahathir Mohamad was able to serve as an elected leader for the longest time in the country.  In 2003, Mahathir Mohamad retired from the office of prime minister.

Later Life

Mahathir Mohamad became the CEO, Chairman, and adviser to some Malaysian companies.  This includes Petronas, the government oil, and gas company.  Mahathir Mohamad also founded Proton auto manufacturing company in 1983.  It was the sole national auto company of Malaysia.  

In 2013, Mahathir Mohamad retired from Petronas due to health issues.  In 2016, Mahathir Mohamad resigned as the Chairman of the Board of Proton after two years of leadership.

Personal Life And Legacy

Mahathir Mohamad married fellow medical student Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali in 1956 after their graduation.  The couple had four children and adopted three children.

Mahathir Mohamad's legacy includes more than 40 years of politics in many departments of the Malay government.  He always proved himself to be an advocate for Malay rights. 

During his time as Prime Minister, the country saw economic growth and improvements to the infrastructure.  When Asia was going through a financial crisis in 1998, he tied the currency to the U.S. Dollar. While his recovery strategy was not popular with his advisers, it did allow for the country to recover sooner than their neighbors.


Mahathir Mohamad underwent his first heart bypass surgery in 1989.  Following his retirement, Mahathir Mohamad suffered two heart attacks within ten months of each other in 2007.  Mahathir Mohamad had to undergo another heart bypass surgery.

Awards And Achievements  

•    Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding
•    Named “The Father of Modernization” by the Malaysian people
•    Grand Commander of the Order of the Defender of the Realm
•    Authored 16 books including The Malay Dilemma


Mahathir Mohamad has been known to speak out and criticize against government. When Mahathir Mohamad was expelled from the UMNO in 1969, he continued to speak out against the government in his book The Malay Dilemma.  Even at the age of 91, he attended anti-government rallies and spoke out against the current Prime Minister Najib Razak.

In 2008, the Mahathir Mohamad administration was investigated for corruption by the Malaysian government.  That same year he resigned from the UMNO.

Summary Of Major Works

•    Minister of Finance, Home Affairs, Defense, Trade, and Education
•    Prime Minister of Malaysia, 1981-2003
•    Longest serving Prime Minister of Malaysia
•    Connected to the economic and infrastructural growth in Malaysia during that period


•    The Malay Dilemma (1970)
•    The Way Forward:  Growth, Prosperity and Multiracial Harmony in Malaysia (1998)
•    A New Deal for Asia (1999)
•    A Doctor in the House:  The Memoirs of Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad (2011)

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