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What’s next for Mahathir?

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The last few days have seen some extremely abrupt and dramatic changes in Malaysia’s political arena. The electoral victory of Mahathir Mohamad, release of victorious opposition alliance’s icon, Anwar Ibrahim, from jail, and the start of massive investigations into the corruption scandal of former premier Najib Razak have literally put the already volatile Malaysian politics into a new phase of swift twists and turns.

It is certainly a stunning comeback. Mahathir, previously Prime Minister between 1981 and 2003, has returned as the head of an opposition coalition with a big bang. He defeated his former protégé Najib Razak last week and effectively put a full stop to six decades of one-party rule in the country.

The unlikely alliance of Mahathir and Anwar has been one of the many unusual aspects of this election. When Mahathir was prime minister the first time round, Anwar was his protégé and deputy, tipped for the top job until Mahathir thought he was growing out of his boots and becoming too powerful.

After a prosecution for corruption and sodomy that was widely perceived to be politically motivated and fabricated, Anwar was jailed in 1999. However, this year, in the bid to get rid of Najib Razak, who is accused in a $3.2bn corruption scandal, Mahathir joined the opposition. He agreed to run as its leader, get a royal pardon for Anwar (who was again behind bars since 2013on a second charge of sodomy) and then make way for him to become prime minister in next one to two years.

Mahathir Mohamad is generally labelled, and rightly so, as the main architect of a new and modern Malaysia. He spearheaded the transition of Malaysia from an underdeveloped country to a developing nation that became a regional leader in a short time. During his tenure of more than two decades, Malaysia saw drastic growth in infrastructure and economy and became a role model for neighbouring countries.

When Mahathir left the political arena in 2002 and sought retirement from........

© Daily Times