Not many people get to be prime minister, and even fewer get to say they’ve done it twice.
In April, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad was named by Time Magazine as one of the Top 100 most influential people of 2019 after coming out of retirement to take down his successor Najib Razak, who was accused of embezzling millions from the 1MDB development fund.
Now, less than a month later, Mahathir has another accolade to add to his name, after Fortune named him one of the world’s 50 greatest leaders, alongside other notable personalities such as Bill and Melinda Gates, Jacinda Arden and Robert Mueller.
The 93-year-old, who ranked 47th, was described as “writing an unexpected chapter in his legacy” by Fortune, which also recognised the first 22 years he served as prime minister before stepping down in 2003.
“Last year, he returned from seclusion to run for office on an anti-corruption platform, leading a new political party to a shocking victory over incumbent Najib Razak,” Fortune said.
Fortune added: “Mahathir is now tackling the endemic corruption plaguing the country’s institutions, and has brought Najib to court on charges connected to the 1MDB scandal.”
The magazine also said that Mahathir’s government was “moving to protect judicial independence and press freedom, recognising that they help keep a democracy honest”.
Other Asians who made the list of the world’s greatest leaders include Pony Ma, China’s wealthiest man and founder and CEO of Tencent, who was ranked fourth. Ma was recognised for the development of Wechat, which Fortune said was “the epitome of the super-app model”. It added that WeChat’s rivals, including Facebook, are now seeking to emulate its success.
Also high up on the list is SoftBank’s CEO Masayoshi Son, who took 12th place on the list for launching the US$100 billion Vision Fund for companies and start-ups.
Additionally, lawyer and activist Kyaw Hla Aung – who fought against discrimination of Rohingya Muslims in Bangladesh – came in at 28th place. Tadashi Yanai, the CEO and founder of Fast Retailing which owns Uniqlo, came in at 31st place.
The list was topped by Bill and Melinda Gates, who were recognised for the contributions of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, while New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, and US special counsel Rober Mueller came in second and third respectively.
- Mahathir called the Johor Crown Prince ‘a small fry’, after the royal was filmed saying ‘it’s better to change the Prime Minister’
- Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad crowned Muslim Man of the Year for 2019
- Anwar has made clear that his family supports PM Mahathir, after daughter Izzah said she was ‘heartbroken’ from working with the ‘former dictator’