Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad was the fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia. He held the post for 22 years from 1981 to 2003, being Malaysia’s longest-serving Prime Minister and one of the longest-serving leaders in the whole Asia. Mahathir was born on the 10th July 1925 in Alor Setar, Kedah. He was the youngest among nine children. His dad, Mohamad Iskandar, was a schoolteacher whereas his mom, Wan Tampawan was a housewife. During the World War II, where the Japanese armies conquered the Malaya, Mahathir helped to lessen his family’s financial burden by selling banana fritters and other snacks. He attended a Malay vernacular school before continuing his education at the Sultan Abdul Hamid College in Alor Setar.
Mahathir then attended the King Edward VII Medical College (the predecessor of present-day University of Malaya and thus National University of Singapore) in Singapore, where he edited a medical student magazine called The Cauldron. Besides that, Mahathir was also President of the Muslim Society in the college. Upon graduation in 1953, Mahathir joined the then Malayan government service as a medical officer. He married Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali who is a doctor and his former classmate in college on the 5th of August 1956.
Then, Mahathir left the government service in 1957 to set up his own private practice in Alor Star. Mahathir thrived in private practice, and allowed him to own by 1959 a Pontiac Catalina and employ an ethnic Chinese chauffeur. From his marriage with Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah binti Haji Mohamad Ali, they have seven children,four sons and three daughters: Marina Mahathir, Mirzan Mahathir, Melinda Mahathir, Mokhzani Mahathir, Mukhriz Mahathir, Maizura Mahathir and Mazhar Mahathir. Both Mukhriz and Mokhzani are involved in business as well as in politics while their eldest daughter Marina is a prominent local writer and AIDS activist. He successfully underwent a heart bypass operation in 1989 at age 63.