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  'This election is personal': Mahathir Mohamad, 92, vows to stop 'corrupt' protege
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Last EditedIndyGeorgia  May 01, 2018 08:58pm
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AuthorHannah Ellis-Petersen
News DateTuesday, May 1, 2018 09:55:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionMahathir Mohamad is 92 and by his own account should be enjoying a “nice time” during his retirement. But instead, Malaysia’s arch political puppetmaster and former prime minister is returning to the political fray, bent on toppling his former protege and reclaiming power.

This time around, the man whose ambitions and political grudges came to influence every major power shift in the country for decades has his sights on bringing down the current prime minister, Najib Razak, a man he dismisses as “corrupt”.

Mahathir insists it is with “great reluctance” that he is running for prime minister again. If he wins, it will make him the oldest leader in the world.

“It’s still quite unexpected,” he tells the Guardian in an interview in his airy office in the administrative capital Petrajaya. “I thought I would retire and have a nice time, but people demanded, kept on asking me to do something. Eventually I’ve had to form a party. I’ve had to be directly involved; I have no choice.”

Mahathir ruled Malaysia with a notoriously iron first from 1981 to 2003, but now gives off the air of a world-weary academic who is allowing himself to be martyred for his cause. “This election is personal. I feel betrayed by him, I can’t help it. Najib cannot separate personal things from political workings,” he says, describing in a tone of great injury how Najib has banned anyone in government from being in contact with him, even those Mahathir has known for years.
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