Malaysia’s nearly century-old Mahathir Mohamad seeks re-election

6 November, 2022 | Archana Raj

AP11 05 2022 000027A World

On November 5, Mahathir Mohamad, a nearly 100-year-old elder statesman in Malaysian politics, filed his candidacy in what will likely be his final election bid. The campaign for Malaysia’s ge...

On November 5, Mahathir Mohamad, a nearly 100-year-old elder statesman in Malaysian politics, filed his candidacy in what will likely be his final election bid.

The campaign for Malaysia’s general elections began on Saturday, with the longest-serving coalition seeking to regain dominance four years after a shocking electoral loss.

In 2018, the 97-year-old politician was named the “world’s oldest current prime minister” by Guinness World Records. During the November 19 election, Mahathir will defend his parliamentary seat on Langkawi, a popular resort island.

“This should be my last election. I didn’t want to contest this time, but I did not finish my last term,” he said.

Two years into his five-year term, Mahathir’s government collapsed. He ruled the nation from 1981 to 2003, and again from 2018 to 2020.

“I hope I can finish my job. I have a good chance of winning,” he said.

Other candidates also filed their candidacies in the country, including UMNO leader Ismail and Pakatan Harapan leader Anwar Ibrahim.

In anticipation of torrential rains during the monsoon season, Mr. Anwar warned voters to turn out in large numbers.

“I am optimistic we will win,” he said

The Nov. 19 election will determine whether Barisan Nasional (BN) can successfully regain power or whether political reformers can secure a surprise victory that will enable Anwar Ibrahim to fulfill his long-held dream of becoming prime minister.

A minor opposition party’s supporters tried to force their way into a nomination center in the interior town of Tenom after their leader’s candidacy was rejected, but police fired tear gas to disperse them.

According to The Star news portal, Hazani Ghazali, the internal security police chief, tear gas was fired to disperse the crowd, but no injuries were reported.

While Mahathir is expected to win easily in Langkawi, a victory in the race for the premiership is far less likely. At least four blocs — including the one he leads — are vying for a majority in the 222-seat lower house of parliament.

While Mahathir is expected to win easily in Langkawi, a victory in the race for the premiership is far less likely. At least four blocs — including the one he leads — are vying for a majority in the 222-seat lower house of parliament. Making it a tight race.