The Great Pivot

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By June Ramli

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Seri Kembangan, March 21: Former Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had held the top job as the nation’s premier not once but twice in his lifetime.
But did you know that before him holding the premiership post, Dr Mahathir himself was a very successful physician in Alor Setar, Kedah and according to his Wikipedia page, he was the town’s first Malay doctor with his own practice.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad (R) and his deputy Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (L) at the parliament in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 15 October 2018. Anwar Ibrahim, who won the Port Dickson by-election on 13 October for attempt a parliamentary comeback, was convicted and imprisoned for sodomy twice, in what were widely regarded as politically motivated trials. He was pardoned after the Pakatan Harapan (PH, Alliance of Hope coalition), that he leads, gained power in the May 2018 general election. EPA-EFE/FAZRY ISMAIL
Former Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (R) and his deputy Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (L) at the parliament in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Oct 15, 2018. EPA-EFE/Fazry Ismail.

While serving as a physician he had built a large house, invested in various businesses, and even employed a driver to chauffeur him around in his Pontiac Catalina.
In our latest career spotlight piece, I sat down virtually with Dr Mahathir to find out why he decided to leave his cushy job as a doctor and pivot into politics and whether the top job of being a Prime Minister had always been the end goal of his career change.

A general view of the Prime Minister's Office in Putrajaya, Malaysia, 23 October 2020. Multiple news outlets are reporting that Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin is seeking to be conferred special emergency powers to better manage the government's responce to the COVID-19 pandemic, through an audience with the Malaysian King, according to local media reports. EPA-EFE/FAZRY ISMAIL
A general view of the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya, Malaysia. EPA-EFE/Fazry Ismail.

In this exclusive interview with, Dr Mahathir tells us how he broke the news of wanting a career change to his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah and whether he feels that the premiers in Malaysia should be commensurated more to be in the same ranks as their Singaporean counterpart. Without further ado, let’s watch and listen to the interview below:

Watch the exclusive interview with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad here.
Listen to the interview here.
Tun Mahathir and the interviewee’s father Ramli Kassim in Black Baju Melayu. Image supplied.

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