It’s one thing to be a nation’s leader – but to be named as one of the most influential figures in the world puts one on a whole other level.
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has just been listed among Time Magazine’s top 100 most influential people in the world this year, alongside other leaders like US President Donald Trump, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed and Pope Francis.
“You don’t have to be young to fight the power,” Sarawak Report’s Clare Rewcastle Brown wrote of the 93-year-old in an article for Time.
Mahathir had come out of retirement in 2018 and successfully challenged his successor Najib Razak, who is being accused of embezzling millions of dollars from the country’s 1MDB development fund.
Describing him as a “formidable old warhorse” Brown said that Mahathir had “dazzled during his election campaign, gathering vast crowds; his reliance on core values united electoral groups, and his age inspired trust in a grand man of politics”.
“For Malaysia, the episode has re-established democracy in a country that almost teetered into totalitarianism,” Brown said.
Other Asians named in the “Leaders” category of Time’s 100 include Chinese President Xi Jinping; Zhang Yiming, the “top entrepreneur in the world” who founded US$75 billion social media company ByteDance; and chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Hoesung Lee.
World leaders were not the only people who made the list. A myriad of other influential figures were named across five different categories on the annual list
K-pop group BTS, who have been “shattering sales records, gathering accolades and performing across the globe for head-spinning audiences”, also made the list in the “Artist” category, together with others like Ariana Grande, Khalid, Dwayne Johnson and Rami Malek.
Under the “Pioneers” category, were actress Sandra Oh and model-turned-cookbook author Chrissy Teigen, as well as scientist He Jiankui, a controversial figure who changed the genomes of twin girls so they could have immunity to HIV.
Meanwhile, pop stars Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga, former US first lady Michelle Obama, human rights defender Radhya Almutawakel were all named under the “Icons” category.
Tiger Woods, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani and Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei saw themselves recognised under the “Titans” category.