Malaysia’s Mature Election Candidate and the Deputy Prime Minister’ Resurface
As announced last Sunday, Malaysia’s longest serving Minister Mahathir Mohamad intends to run in the elections once again, accompanied by the potential deputy Anwar Ibrahim. The two previous rivals are forming an opposition coalition against the current Prime Minister Najib Razak. A topic of much controversy, this recent Malaysian political development is a peculiar source of discussion for several reasons.
Political figure Mohamad, initially rising through Unite Malaysian National Organizaton (UNMO) ranks to become prime minister in 1981 and since having run the country in question for over two decades, is now 92 years old. His sudden decision to re-candidate has raised doubt upon the political state of Malaysia’s young population, the average age being that of 28.
According to local correspondents, the former leader's authoritarian but essentially pragmatic regime at home during his power enabled Malaysia’s transformation into an “Asian economic tiger”.
Anwar Ibrahim, jailed for six years on sodomy and corruption charges in 1998, is now close to completing his second prison sentence; the first set up by Mahathir and the second by current Prime Minister Najib Razak. Upon his upcoming release in June, Anwar is expected to request royal pardon so as to enable him to be readmitted in Malaysia’s electoral scene. Were he not to obtain such pardon from the King, Anwar will not be allowed to partake in any political activity for another five years beyond his release. Despite their history of political dispute and incarceration, former leaders Anwar and Mahathir have set their differences aside and teamed up to face their common opposer, Najib Razak.
Due to current Prime Minister Najib Razak being at the epicentre of a multi-billion dollar financial scandal regarding the 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) state investment fund, Mahathir Mohamad has surged back to the political stage equipped with his explicit vocal opposition.
As indicated by lawsuits filed by USA’s Department of Justice (DoJ), over $3.5bn has allegedly been stolen from 1MDB. The DoJ stated that stolen money from 1MDB was traced back to numerous associates of Prime Minister Najib’s, who himself was then found to have carelessly spent bountiful amounts across the globe. Additionally, the DoJ then accused Najib of receiving an extra $681m of cash from the fund in question.
Nevertheless, Prime Minister denied all accusations. Amongst the various sums illegally spent from the 1MDB fund, the United States also declared that high amounts were spent to purchase Manhattan luxury apartments, real estates in LA, original artwork by monet, a corporate jet as well as the financing of an entire Hollywood film.