TUN MAHATHIR MOHAMAD – Retirement

In 2002 a tearful Mahathir announced his resignation to a suprised UMNO General Assembly. He was persuaded to stay on for a further eighteen months, in a carefully planned handcover that ended in October 2003. On his retirement, he was granted Malaysia’s highest honour, which entitles him to the litle Tun from his original Datuk Seri. Since retirement, he has been serving as an advisor to the Malaysian national oil company Petronas and the Malaysian national car company Proton, an original core national project initiated by Mahathir during his premiership. He is also head of the Perdana Leadership Foundation, a foundation whose aim is to preserve, develop and spread materials regarding or written by previous Malaysian Prime Ministers. While he has retired from all political offices, he remains very outspoken regarding national policies.

In 2005 Mahathir brought up the issue of excessive awarding of Approved Permits (APs) to import cars, stating that they were creating too much competition for Proton, causing friction between him and Rafidah Aziz, the Minister for International Trade and industry, who oversaw the awarding of APs. His successor, Abdullah, then announced that a National Automotive Policy (NAP) would be created to appropriately handle the issue. Later, when touching on the issue, Mahathir lamented the government’s majority in Parliament, saying, “I believe that the country should have a strong government but not too strong. A two-thirds majority like I enjoyed when I was prime minister is sufficient but a 90% majority is too strong…. We need an opposition to remind us if we are making mistakes. When you are not opposed you think do is right”.

Mahathir has also ventured into a bakery business with a Japanese partner. Together they established a Japanese-style bakery and bistro outlet called “The Loaf”. As of October 2007, there are two outlets in Malaysia , one in Langkawi and one in Kuala Lumpur. They are planning expand their business into other countries in Southeast Asia. In May 2008, Mahathir started a blog under his old pseudonym, which reached a million visitors within the span of one month.


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