PETALING JAYA: Former Malaysian leader and politician, Dr Mahathir Mohamad has become the world’s oldest prime minister after defeating Najib Razak in a closely contested election that put an end to the ruling coalition’s six-decade hold on power. Mahathir, 92, who was prime minister between 1981 and 2003, led the opposition coalition, Pakatan Harapan, to its first election victory since Malaysian independence in 1957, winning an outright parliamentary majority. He will be sworn in by the king today.
Right after midnight, thousands began to sense that something historic was going to take place. They had gathered enthusiastically on a vast lawn to watch the election results roll in through the night.
Mahathir’s win marks the end of the nine-year tenure of Najib, who came to power in 2009 and whose reputation was tarnished by the 1MDB corruption scandal in which $2.6bn was embezzled from a government fund he was overseeing – including $681m that was alleged to have ended up in his personal bank account.
An end to corruption is what this election means to Malaysians, but what does it mean to the rest of the world?
In a faraway part of the world, Lebanon had its first election in nine years on Sunday. It went relatively smoothly. Turnout was low and many appeared apathetic because old party bosses still dominate the sectarian quota system that underpins Lebanese politics. Christians, Sunnis, Shi’ites, Druze and members of other religions voted for reserved candidates, guaranteeing that much of the legislature remains the same and that patronage systems dominate.
With Hezbollah’s allies winning the election, it clearly means Israel’s party is over. Hezbollah has been conducting itself as a regular army since the escalation of its role in the Syrian Civil War in 2013. Following the battle of Qusayr, Hezbollah has moved from insurgency to counterinsurgency. It has been fighting openly along established front lines in order to conquer and control territory so as to weaken and destroy its opponents. Its fighters have even acted as battlefield commanders of Syrian troops. Hezbollah’s weaponry in Syria also reflects a more conventional strategy. The group has operated Syrian tanks and artillery systems, jeeps with recoil-less rifles, and is even rumored to have acquired its own 75-tank armored brigade.
This very same weak has brought with itself 3 moves that would definitely create a large hole in Israel’s shoe. Trump signing out of the JCPOA, Hezbollah winning the Lebanon Elections which means more freedom for Iran in both cases. Denounced as a terrorist group by the U.S., Hezbollah’s political mandate has grown since joining the war in Syria to support President Bashar Assad in 2012. The group’s powerful presence in Beirut is seen by some external observers as a mark of Iran’s regional ascendancy. Syria has long been engulfed in a chaotic and internecine war involving numerous parties fighting for their own calculated interests. And one major geopolitical concern coming into focus in recent weeks is the escalation of clashes between Iran and Israel. Iran has also warned Israel that it would be “punished” for allegedly carrying out an attack on a drone base of Tehran’s in Syria. Israel’s government neither confirmed nor denied the strike, which killed seven Iranian military advisors from the country’s elite Quds Force in the Syrian city of Homs.
And here comes the role of the not so new Prime Minister to be, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, who has since long wanted an end to the Gaza Crisis, Israel considered Mohamad such a threat to their Zionist ideology that they barred him from Jerusalem. Mohamad has also condemned US President Donald Trump’s move to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital saying this was “done on purpose”. Mahathir recalled that plans to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital were not new but were made during the tenures of presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush.
He had also pointed out that moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, thereby acknowledging it as Israel’s capital instead of Tel Aviv, will spark anger among Muslims and result in more acts of terror occurring all around the world.“The terrorists have no other way to express their discontent or rage against the US, and the only way they know is through acts of terror. They don’t have organised military forces. The only way they know is what we recognize as terrorism.”
With an extremely powerful ideology and resolve against the rising terrorist provocations by Israel and its long time ally, the US, Mahathir might even act as a catalyst in changing the way powerful instituitions are still cloaking the malign intentions of the US and Israel against the Islamic World.