The 97-year-old former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohamad, wants to be re-elected to his seat Malaysia
Mahathir Mohamad, the 97-year-old elder statesman of Malaysian politics, announced his candidacy on Saturday as campaigning for the upcoming general election began.
Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yacob. the elections were scheduled 10 months earlier than plannedhoping to secure a stronger mandate for his party and stabilize the rocky political landscape that has plagued the country for the past four years.
Mahathir, who held the Guinness World Record for being the “world’s oldest sitting prime minister” when he became prime minister for a second term in 2018, will again defend his parliamentary seat on the island of Langkawi in the Nov. 19 vote.
Mahathir was greeted by dozens of supporters waving the flags of his Motherland Warriors party when he arrived at the Kuah local government office in the island’s main town to register his candidacy.
Ismail, of the ruling United Malays National Organization (UMNO), and opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, of the Pakatan Harapan coalition, have also filed their candidacies elsewhere in the country.
Anwar urged voters to turn out in large numbers amid fears that torrential rain during the monsoon season could reduce turnout.
In Langkawi, Mahathir told reporters he had a “good chance” of winning and laughed off suggestions he should retire.
“I’m still standing and talking to you, I think I’m giving reasonable answers,” he said.
Mahathir, who first served as prime minister from 1981 to 2003, came out of retirement to lead the opposition Pact of Hope alliance in the 2018 general election.
The reformist alliance won a stunning victory over the then incumbent president Najib Razakwho was later convicted of corruption in connection with the 1MDB financial scandal and is now serving a 12-year prison sentence.
Mahathir became prime minister again just two months before his 93rd birthday, but his government collapsed in less than two years due to infighting.
He warned that Najib Razak would be freed if the jailed politician’s UMNO allies won, signaling that corruption would be a key issue at the polls.
He also offered to become the prime minister for the third time.
While Mahathir is expected to win easily in Langkawi, a third term as prime minister will be difficult, an analyst said.
At least four blocs, including the one he leads, are vying for a majority in the 222-seat lower house, making it a tight race.
The 21 million voters also include more than six million new registrants, many of whom are youngwho came forward after the electoral reforms.
“Mahathir’s time has passed,” Bridget Welsh of the University of Nottingham Malaysia said AFP.
“He was given a second chance and cheated. His chances to be nominated for the post of prime minister this time are extremely small.
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