Southeast Asia has seen its fair share of authoritarian leaders. Malaysia's Dr. Mahathir Mohamed is one who still endures, albeit now on the sidelines. Ascending to the premiership of Malaysia in July 1981, and ruling until his forced retirement in October 2003, he reigned in impressive fashion. Among the many titles that were bestowed on this poor boy from a Malaysian backwater were 'respected Muslim', 'Third World leader', and 'spokesman for developing nations'. Within the country, as overseas, he was both loathed and loved. In his quest to transform Malaysia into a 'developed nation' he used all possible means, both domestic and external, to achieve his grand vision. Seven years since his departure, what has been his legacy?
|East Asia Forum Quarterly (EAFQ)
|Published - 2010