One of the world’s most seasoned politicians, Mahathir Mohamad, is to run for parliament in Malaysia’s general election – even though he’s 97.
Mr Mahathir has been prime minister of Malaysia twice, the first time for a 22 year stint. He was appointed again in 2018 when he was 92.
He was in hospital earlier this year with a heart condition, but says he is now well enough to defend his seat.
He has not said whether he will be prime minister if his alliance wins.
“We have not decided who will be prime minister because the prime minister candidate is only relevant if we win,” Mr Mahathir told a news conference.
Malaysia’s parliament was dissolved on Monday, paving the way for a general election which the government hopes will end political instability after one of the world’s biggest financial scandals, involving a government fund known as 1MDB.
Mr Mahathir first became a member of parliament in 1964. He is widely credited for Malaysia’s rapid economic development and transformation from the 1980s.
In 2018, he came out of retirement in a bid to take down former prime minister Najib Razak – who had been accused of embezzling hundreds of millions of dollars in state funds.
With the help of former rival Anwar Ibrahim, Mr Mahathir was voted in again as the country’s prime minister, while Mr Najib was charged and eventually jailed on charges of money laundering and abuse of power.
But the alliance proved unable to withstand the weight of internal rivalries, and in February 2020 Mr Mahathir found himself ousted.
The 97-year-old has a history of heart trouble, and has had heart attacks and bypass surgeries. He was discharged from hospital only last month after being admitted with Covid-19.