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Mahathir Mohamad Quotes


Mahathir Mohamad
  • Mini Bio
  • Name: Mahathir Mohamad
  • Born: 10th July 1925, Alor Setar, Kedah, British Malaya
  • Alma mater: King Edward VII College of Medicine, Singapore
  • Occupation: 4th and 7th Malaysian Prime Minister
  • Political affiliations: UMNO (1946–1969, 1972–2008, 2009–2016) and PPBM (2016–present)
  • Height: 5' 7" (1.70m)
  • Marriage resume: Tun Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali 1956 - present date
  • Titles: Datuk Seri and Tun
  • Nicknames: Dr M and Che Det
  • Trivia: He is the author of 18 books including The Malay Dilemma (1970), The Challenge (1986), A New Deal for Asia (1999) and A Doctor in the House: The Memoirs of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (2011)
  • Scroll down for full bio and many great quotes

"If you can't be famous, at least you can be notorious"

Mahathir Mohamad

"Knowledge has always been power and wealth"

Mahathir Mohamad

"I'm brash and abrasive but that's because I've noticed when people are nice and polite they never get anywhere"

Mahathir Mohamad

"There is today a great deal of 'globaloney' about 'globalisation', a word we so often use because we don't quite know what we are talking about"

Mahathir Mohamad

"The United Nations is a creature of the five super-powers who were given veto powers"

Mahathir Mohamad

"There are many leaders in the world, but I don't think I am worse than Trump. I don't think I am worse than British leaders, French leaders, Spanish leaders, and all those other leaders"

Mahathir Mohamad

"I may be wrong, but I suspect that Lee Kuan Yew once nursed the thought of becoming Prime Minister of this country. At that time, Singapore was too small a stage for his great talent"

Mahathir Mohamad

"I came back because the very same opposition that used to call me a dictator decided that I should be their leader, at their request and not mine"

Mahathir Mohamad

"Government leaders have been given a warning by me, if they are involved in corruption. I would like to shoot them, like in China, but I can't"

Mahathir Mohamad

"I don't care much whether people remember me or not. If people remember, well and good. If they don't remember, it's alright, I'm dead anyway"

Mahathir Mohamad

"There are two types of age. One in terms of years and another in terms of the body. As far as health is concerned, I'm not senile yet"

Mahathir Mohamad

"To be known you have to be a little bit nasty. In any case, I'm nasty only toward governments. I'm not nasty towards business people"

Mahathir Mohamad

"When one is short, one should stand on a box to get a better view. The Twin Towers is to our ego what the box is to the shorties"

Mahathir Mohamad

"We need an opposition to remind us if we are making mistakes. When you are not opposed you think everything you do is right"

Mahathir Mohamad

"Even if I were to kiss and hug Anwar Ibrahim in public, they will say there is a rift because this is what they want to see"

Mahathir Mohamad

"We too have people that we do not like, but we don't kill them" [about the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi]

Mahathir Mohamad

"I don't know if there is any wisdom or wit in what I say but other people seem to say that I have wit and wisdom"

Mahathir Mohamad

"We must rid ourselves of Najib as prime minister. If he’s allowed to go on, the damage will be worse and worse"

Mahathir Mohamad

"History should remember Blair and Bush as the killers of children or as the lying prime minister and president"

Mahathir Mohamad

"I am 91 years old and going on to be 92 soon. So we need to think of ways not to pressure our hearts so much"

Mahathir Mohamad

"In the flag war we lost. We lost the flag war completely. But they can have the flags, we prefer the votes"

Mahathir Mohamad

"We will also not have the petrol price adjusted every few seconds. It’s very disturbing for petrol dealers"

Mahathir Mohamad

"Those who hardly use their body eventually become paralysed. If we don't use our brains, we become stupid"

Mahathir Mohamad

"To be a great leader, one needs to have good strategies, be knowledgeable and able to predict the future"

Mahathir Mohamad

"Education is a lifetime job because what I knew when I graduated in 1954 is no longer relevant today"

Mahathir Mohamad

"The Europeans killed 6 million Jews out of 12 million. But today the Jews rule this world by proxy"

Mahathir Mohamad

"Clearly Islam the religion is not the cause of terrorism. Islam, as I said, is a religion of peace"

Mahathir Mohamad

"All have been raped by the previous government. They have taken money. Now they have lost the money"

Mahathir Mohamad

"Try to be more like the Japanese. No need to commit 'harakiri', but at least do feel ashamed"

Mahathir Mohamad

"A prime minister who came from 'Bugis pirates' is now leading Malaysia" [about Najib Razak]

Mahathir Mohamad

"We always want to move forward, and to move forward, we need to develop new knowledge"

Mahathir Mohamad

"The more we look into the previous administration, the more bad things we find"

Mahathir Mohamad

"1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews"

Mahathir Mohamad

"There is a delay in doing everything"

Mahathir Mohamad

"I am glad to be labeled anti semitic"

Mahathir Mohamad

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Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad Biography

Since its Merdeka in 1957 Malaysia has been ruled by seven Prime Ministers but none of them achieved the economic growth achieved under the governance of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who was in the hot seat of power from 1981 until 2003 when he officially retired but later made a remarkable comeback to again lead the country from 2018 up until the present date.

Mahathir first started making political waves in the 1960's, he was elected to parliament in 1964 representing the Alor Setar seat of Kota Setar Selatan. The topic dominating political discussion of that era was the future of Singapore and Mahathir wasted no time weighing into the argument with his Malay nationalistic speeches where he called the Singapore based party PAP "pro Chinese", "anti Malay" and labelled its leader Lee Kuan Yew as "arrogant", in return Lee called Mahathir an "ultra Malay". By 1965 this argument had climaxed with the expulsion of Singapore from the union of Malaysia, but the Alor Setar MP continued his Malay nationalistic rhetoric that cost him his seat in the 1969 election.



Before the election Mahathir warned of simmering tensions in the Malay community would lead to violence and after the UMNO controlled government lost many seats in the 1969 election Kuala Lumpur exploded with riots on the streets resulting in the loss of 100's of lives. Mahathir wrote a letter to Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman calling for his resignation for failing to protect Malay rights, the letter was leaked to the press and Mahathir was forced out of UMNO.

In 1970 Mahathir penned the now famous book "The Malay Dilemma" which outlined the reasons that led to the 1969 riots and explained both the problems and the failings of the Malays and proposed many solutions that when combined would lead Malaysia down a more harmonious path where the economic strength of the nation would not be dominated by one race, the Chinese. The book raised Mahathir's political profile and by 1972 he was back in the UMNO fold, by 1974 he was in the cabinet as Minister For Education and by 1981 he was the Prime Minister.

His tenure as Prime Minister was the longest in Malaysian history but it also gave the country the political stability required to build the nation. Mahathir got to work quickly by encouraging foreign investment, reducing trade tariffs, reforming financial and tax regulations and determining to build an abundance of necessary infrastructure projects.

The north-south highway connecting the Thai border to the Johor bridge and gateway to Singapore was first planned in 1977 and then shelved, Mahathir wasted no time in reviving and actually starting this project in his first year in office that saw the expressway fully open in 1994.

The Penang Bridge was another project Mahathir revived, initially it was the brainchild of the 2nd Prime Minister of Malaysia Tun Abdul Razak and the 2nd Chief Minister of Penang Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu, its construction was only started under Mahathir's watch and for its 1985 opening he triumphantly drove the national car, a red Proton Saga adorned with a Malaysian flag across the bridge.

Mahathir was responsible for the creation of KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport) in Sepang which opened in June 1998 just in time for the Commonwealth games that Malaysia was hosting, and the new airport now carries approximately 60 million passengers annually. Also in Sepang, Mahathir was the instigator behind the construction of the Sepang International Circuit which opened in 1999 and hosted its first race, the Moto GP Malaysian Grand Prix on 20th April 1999.

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was the chief driver behind The Multimedia Super Corridor which entailed relocating the government out of Kuala Lumpur and into a newly built city called Putrajaya. The project was huge and included a silicon valley inspired city called Cyberjaya to be built as a neighbour to Putrajaya with both these gleaming new cities on the road south of Kuala Lumpur leading directly to the newly built airport KLIA.

Mahathir created the Malaysian automobile industry with the foundation of the national car maker Proton in 1983, Proton was fully owned by the government virtually securing its domestic success and providing much need jobs for the ambitious government under his guidance.

There were many other large scale projects under his tenure including the building of the National Stadium at Bukit Jalil, The Bakun Dam, the Port of Tanjung Pelepas and transforming the tropical island of Langkawi into a world class tourist resort that attracts in excess of 3 million visitors annually.

Of all his mega projects it is the Petronas Twin Towers that is the jewel in the crown. This magnificent building was officially the tallest building in the world between 1997 until 2004 and still remains as the tallest twin towers in the world. The building is architecturally stunning and the major tourist attraction of Kuala Lumpur, it was officially opened by Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad on 1st August 1999.

His prime ministership was not without its critics and the phrase "Mahathirism" was first coined to describe his political manoeuvering's to maintain his power using race based policies.

After his retirement he became an elder statesman sharing sage like advice on a variety of subjects and he wrote his memoirs. However the 1MDB scandal was unravelling and Mahathir resigned from his position within UMNO and in 2016 he founded his own political vehicle called Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM). In a remarkable turn of events Mahathir became the prime ministerial candidate for the coalition of opposition party's called Pakatan Harapan. The Mahathir campaign was simple, get Najib out of Putrajaya and end put an end to government corruption and in the 2018 election the unthinkable happened and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was elected as the seventh Malaysian Prime Minister, at the age of 92 he became the oldest leader in world politics.

As political comebacks go, the reelection of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad after a ministerial absence of 15 years was both spectacular and audacious in its sheer magnitude, Mahathir was back on the hustings and about to become the nemesis of his former protégé Najib Razak. He broke ties from his old party which was still in power and created another party which just waltzed through political campaigning to usurp what he deemed as a regime that was corrupt to the core. His political reinvention removed from power UMNO, the one party that had endured total power for the 61 years since the birth of Malaysia in 1957, his achievement was beyond unimaginable, it was the most significant political event since the dawn of the nation and the nonagenarian made it look as easy as a walk in park.

His tongue was as sharp as a knife and his witticisms captured the imagination and helped me to compile this list of 35 of the best Mahathir Mohamad quotes.

Quotes About Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad

The Chinese leader Xi Jinping was optimistic about current and future relations with the Mahathir administration: "Our bilateral relations is at a new starting chapter. While China is making its stride towards its second century mark, your country is also striving towards a new Malaysia... both countries are working towards developing a bright future for China-Malaysia relations"

Singapore’s second prime minister Goh Chok Tong was impressed to say: "One must salute Dr Mahathir for his indomitable will and energy to right what he thinks is wrong with his country"

Before the 1MDB scandal Najib Razak was praiseful: "Much if not all of Malaysia's present success must be attributed to Dr Mahathir. He has turned Malaysia into an advanced developing country and there is much enthusiasm for the future"

The Malaysian politician Daim Zainuddin didn't witness the crossover between his professional and personal lives: "He has no close friends that I know of"

James Chin, the director of the Asia Institute gave this assessment: "He has mellowed, and unlike his first time in office, he has now realized that independent institutions are not a bad thing. Previously, he was all about centralization of power in the prime minister’s office"

The former Minister of Foreign Affairs Anifah Aman was pessimistic: "What concerns me right now is that with the actions of Dr Mahathir, who is a lauded statesman and a beloved international icon, the country could become unstable, driving away foreign investors from this nation at the same time... he should be more understanding of what democracy is, which cannot be achieved the way Dr Mahathir is going about it now"

The DAP leader Lim Guan Eng spoke of his second term in office: "I think it’s Mahathir version 2.0. I think it’s very different from the version 1.0 we saw when he first became prime minister. He’s more reformist. He’s a man with a mission, driven by the need to get things done in the shortest possible time. He’s moving at a frenetic pace."


Mahathir Mohamad image quote