Washington Post turns attention to Dr Mahathir with wide coverage

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A number of foreign leaders hailed Tun Dr Mahathir for returning to power in Malaysia. Among them President Donald Trump who said the elderly statesman won the elections in a peaceful manner, fair and square.

Now, it is the turn of The Washington Post to dissect Dr Mahathir’s new role as a reformist PM in Malaysia.

“Mahathir’s return to the world stage followed a remarkable election campaign this year to unseat Najib, a former Mahathir protege. Popular discontent with Malaysia’s political status quo, intensified by spiralling corruption scandals surrounding Najib, compelled his mentor to head up an opposition coalition and bring down the ruling party he had dominated for decades,” wrote The Post.

The Post, however, admitted there was a certain degree of ironies in Dr M’s return to power.

“There are profound ironies about this turn of events. For years, Mahathir was viewed by many as an autocrat in democratic clothing, a charismatic politico who ruthlessly consolidated power even as he pioneered his nation’s modernization. He is still irked by this characterization, casting it as a “trick” played by the Western media,” the paper said.

He came to power on a pledge to eventually cede office to once-jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, a politician who Mahathir targeted for prosecution 20 years ago.

They’ve since buried the hatchet, and Mahathir told Today’s WorldView that he will give way to Anwar in “two or three years.” He ended on a matter-of-fact note: “I don’t want to stay forever.”