‘She brought me up, she taught me the way I should behave, the things I should do’
by NUR HAZIQAH A MALEK/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
PRIME Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (picture) credits his late mother Wan Tempawan Wan Hanapi for his upbringing, describing her as the most influential individual in his life.
“She brought me up, she taught me the way I should behave, the things I should do,” Dr Mahathir said in a special interview with Bernama Radio to mark his 94th birthday.
The nonagenarian also named Nelson Mandela as among the world leaders who inspired him for his fight against the apartheid, as well as Peter the Great of Russia because “he changed a disorganised Russia into a world power”.
Dr Mahathir also believes that an individual should know about the situation in their country, as well as developments in the region and the world.
He still views his inability to change the Malays and their value system as his biggest failure.
Dr Mahathir told Bernama Radio that he had tried to change them so that they are more compatible with progress, but the majority opted to stick to their established ways.
The 94-year-old leader also became a trending topic across local social media platforms, as he continued to receive birthday wishes from Malaysia and around the world, mostly wishing him for the best of health.
Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong posted his wishes on Facebook, with a picture of Dr Mahathir and his wife prior to last year’s Asean Summit.
“A very happy 94th birthday to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today!
“Look forward to welcoming him and Tun (Dr) Siti Hasmah (Mohamad Ali) at our National Day Parade next month. My best wishes to him on his birthday,” he posted.
He added that an orchid was named the Dendrobium Mahathir Siti Hasmah in their honour.
Dr Mahathir’s daughter, Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir, took to Facebook to wish him and asking him to take time to relax on his special day.
“Happy birthday to the most loving great-grandfather, grandfather, father and husband! Most people think you’re very stern and strict, but you’re quite a quirky funny guy really.
“Wishing you all the best of health and all the energy to do what you love most, especially for our beloved country. But do also take the time to rest and relax with us, your family,” she said.
She added that his grandchildren also love and miss being with him, with a heavy tone of filial love in her wish.
“Time passes so quickly and your grandchildren grow up so fast. They love being with you and they miss you. They understand what you need to focus on, but it would be nice to have you to themselves sometimes.
“Anyway, have a terrific birthday, don’t work so hard today, eat some cake and I’ll see you later,” she wrote. His son, Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir uploaded an almost five-minute-long video to wish his father on his day of birth.
“I want to wish a happy 94th birthday to my father.
“May you have a long life, healthy body, sharp mind and continue to lead the country that the people dream of seeing,” he said.
Pakatan Harapan leaders including Deputy PM Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng also sent their birthday wishes in a special video dedicated to the coalition’s chairman.
Local automotive company Proton Holdings Bhd, founded by Dr Mahathir himself in 1979, also paid tribute to him on his birthday.
The company attached an old, black and white photograph of the PM behind the old Proton Saga model’s wheel.
“You managed to make the impossible possible and we have witnessed incredible achievements achieved throughout the years.
“You are the living proof of strong and enduring determination. You are the inspiration to all of us and always will be,” it wrote.
Social media users and fans took the chance to post and tweet birthday wishes to him, whether it be via comments or individual posts, with some including old photographs and proofs of having spent time with him, and some showcasing their artistic pieces that include the PM.
Meanwhile, unexpected by most, he had also received well wishes from his former protégé and rival during the previous election, Barisan Nasional’s newly-elected top advisor Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak.
“Happy birthday to Tun (Dr)Mahathir. May Allah bestow the best of health,” he posted on his Facebook page.
While wishes came pouring in for the leader, Dr Mahathir said he has only one simple wish — to complete his work in seeing the country off for recovery.
“Thank you for all the birthday greetings I received today.
“My birthday wish is very simple — that I can finish my work setting Malaysia on the road of recovery,” he wrote on his Facebook page.
He added that it is a privilege and honour to serve Malaysia.