Malaysia is one of the fastest growing economies in Asia, renowned for being a cultural haven for travelers and citizens. This benefits the Malaysian people, from the growing modern infrastructure, stable economic markets, adequate transportation facilities, to globalized traditional cuisine. Rapid growth in all these aspects is due to the quality of their leaders who influence the society to become more modern and tolerant. However, multi-cultural and multi-ethnic societies play the major role in state politics, which is basically modelled based on the Westminster parliamentary system.
Several prominent Malaysian prime ministers include Najib Razak, Mahathir Mohamad, Abdul Razak Hussein and Tunku Abdul Rahman. These are our version of the most influential Malaysian politicians.
1. Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad
Birthday: July 10, 1925
Born In: Alor Setar
Famous As: Prime Minister Of Malaysia
- United Malays National Organisation (1987 - 2017)
- Pakatan Harapan (2017 - present)
- Member of the Malaysian Parliament for Kota Setar Selatan (1964 - 1969)
- Member of the Dewan Negara for Kedah ((1972 - 1974)
- Member of the Malaysian Parliament for Kubang Pasu ((1974 - 2004)
- Member of the Malaysian Parliament for Langkawi (2018)
- Minister of Education (1974 - 1977)
- Minister of Trade and Industry (1978 - 1981)
- Minister of Defence (1981 - 1986)
- Minister of Home Affairs (1986 - 1999)
- Ministre of Finance (2001 - 2003)
- 4th Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia (1976 - 1981)
- 21st Secretary General of Non-Aligned Movement (2003)
- Starting out his primary education at the Seberang Perak Malay Boys School (1930) and winning a position in a selective English Medium secondary school.
- During World War II that caused schools are closed, Mahathir went into business, first selling is coffee then fried banana (pisang goreng) and other snacks.
- December 1946, he graduated from secondary school by completing Senior Cambridge exams and registered to study medicine at King Edward VII College of Medicine in Singapore (now part of the National University of Singapore).
- In 1956, he worked as doctor in government service before marrying with Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali.
- He also joined protests against the granting of citizenship to non-Malays under the short-lived Malayan Union.
In 1964, he ran for his first political office and won. He was elected to the seat representing Kota Setar Seletan in the federal parliament.
Mahathir began his career in politics during a volatile time. Racial tensions between the Chinese and Malay reached a fever pitch in 1969. In that same year Mahathir lost his re-election campaign.
In 1970 he published his first book, ‘The Malay Dilemma’. It was a further critique on the lack of support from Rahman's administration for the Malay people. This criticism got the book banned.
Mahathir returned to politics in 1973 after a three year hiatus. He was appointed as a senator in new Prime Minister Abdul Razak Hussein's regime.
Awards & Achievements:
- He was given the title 'Father of Modernization' by Malaysians for his work in economic development.
- His greatest achievement during his tenure as Prime Minister was his recovery strategy during the 1998 Asian financial crisis. He opposed his advisers and tied his currency to the US dollar. This bold move makes Malaysia recover faster than any other country.
In his first tenure as Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohamad formulated several policies for education and business prosperity in the country.
In January 2018, his official candidacy as a prime ministerial candidate was announced. In the 14th Malaysian general election held on 9 May 2018, Pakatan Harapan emerged as the winner and as its leader, Mahathir Mohamad is all set to become the new prime minister of Malaysia.
2. Anwar Ibrahim
Birthday: August 10, 1947
Born In: Bukit Mertajam
Famous As: Malaysian Politician
- Political Party - United Malays National Organisation (1982–1998)
- People's Justice Party (2006–Present)
- Other Political Affiliations - Barisan Nasional (1982–1998)
- Pakatan Rakyat (2006–Present)
- President of International Islamic University Malaysia (1988 - 1998)
- President of UNESCO General Conference (1989 - 1991)
- Chair of the Development Committee of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (1998)
- 7th Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia (1993 - 1998)
- 10th Leader of the Opposition (2008 - 2015)
- From 1968 - 1971, Anwar Ibrahim was the president of National Union of Malaysian Muslim Students. In the same time, he was also the President of University of Malaya Language Society. He was then elected as the 2nd President of the Malaysian Youth Council or Majelis Belia Malaysia.
- From 1975 - 1982, Anwar served as representative for Asia Pacific of World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY). He was also the co-founder of International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIT) in US.
- Between 1983 and 1988, Anwar was a chancellor of International Islamic University Kuala Lumpur.
Awards & Achievements:
- Anwar Ibrahim was awarded the Presidential Medal by Georgetown University in 1996. He was also named a Distinguished Visiting Professor for Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service in the same year.
Seen as the most popular leader in Malaysia - Anwar bin Ibrahim comes from a wealthy political family, so he learned about leadership from a very young age.
His achievements and success as a political leader are due to his ethnic pride, leadership skills, and self-esteem. In addition, he is widely known for his cultural and religious desires.
But when the financial crisis caused a different political outlook, Ibrahim was thrown out of power and sent to prison. His political opponents took advantage of the sodomy laws that cornered him using a very weak indirect evidence to keep him in jail.
3. Najib Razak
Birthday: July 23, 1953
Born In: Pahang
Famous As: 6th Prime Minister of Malaysia
Political Ideology: Political Party - United Malays National Organisation
- Member of the Pahang State Legislative Assembly (1982 - 1986)
- Member of the Malaysian Parliament for Pekan ((1986)
- President of the International Islamic University Malaysia (1998 - 1999)
- 12th Menteri Besar of Pahang (1982 - 1986)
- Minister of Defence (1991 - 1995 & 2000 - 2008)
- Minister of Education (1995 - 2000)
- 9th Deputy Prime Minister (2004 - 2009)
- President of the United Malays National Organisation (2009 - 2018)
- Prime Minister (2009 - 2018)
- Najib is the eldest of Malaysian second Prime Minister Abdul Razak's six sons, and the nephew of third prime minister Hussein Onn.
- He received his primary and secondary education at St. John's Institution, Kuala Lumpur.
- Najib attended Malvern College in Worcestershire, England and
- In 1974, He went to University of Nottingham, where he received a bachelor's degree in industrial economics.
- He entered the business world, serving briefly in Bank Negara Malaysia and later with Petronas (Malaysia's national oil company) as a public affairs manager.
Rewards & Achievements:
- Najib was first assigned into the Cabinet of Malaysia at the age of 25 when he was appointed Deputy Minister of Energy, Telecommunications and Post in 1978, becoming the youngest deputy minister in the country.
- He served as the Menteri Besar (Chief Minister) of Pahang between 1982 and 1986, becoming the youngest Menteri Besar in the state to enter office when he was sworn in at the age of 29.
Serving as Malaysia's sixth Prime Minister, Najib Razak made it onto the list of most prominent Malaysian politicians. He has also handled a number of cabinet ministries before taking over the PM office. Currently, he stands as President of the United Malays National Organization.
Unfortunately, he currently has to deal with the biggest corruption case in Malaysia, 1Malaysian Development Berhad (1MDB). 1MDB is a continuous political scandal in Malaysia. In 2015, the former Malaysian Prime Minister was accused of channeling more than RM 2.67 billion.
Najib Razak was charged with taking RM 42 million and three other charges related to misuse of trust. He was released on bail pending the next hearing scheduled for February 2019.
4. Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
Birthday: November 26, 1939
Born in: Bayan Lepas
Famous As: Former Prime Minister Of Malaysia
Political Ideology: United Malays National Organisation
- Member of the Malaysian Parliament for Kepala Batas (1978 - 2013)
- 22nd Secretary General of Non-Aligned Movement (2003 - 2006)
- 8th Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia (1999 - 2003)
- 5th Prime Minister of Malaysia (2003 - 2009)
- Badawi was one of the founding members of Hizbul Muslimin, later known as PAS.
- He became the first mufti of Penang after Independence.
- Badawi is a former student of Bukit Mertajam High School. He studied at MBS (Methodist Boy's School) Penang for his 6th form.
- In 1964, Badawi obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Islamic Studies from the University of Malaya.
- He joined the Malaysian Administrative and Diplomatic Corps (the formal term for the civil service). He served as Director of Youth at the Ministry of Youth and Sport as well as Secretary of the National Operations Council (MAGERAN).
Rewards & Achievements:
- He is referred to as the "Father of Human Capital Development"
- Honorary Grand Commander of the Order of the Defender of the Realm (2009)
In 1999 he served the country as Deputy Prime Minister and took over the post of Prime Minister from 2003 to 2009.
He was also in charge as President of Malaysia's largest political party - the United Malays National Organization. His remarkable political work has made him one of the top leaders in Malaysia.
Abdullah Badawi declared an end to the economic heritage and grandiose projects of his predecessor, Mahathir Mohamad, during the 57th General Assembly of UMNO.
He told delegates that he would not pursue an economic strategy adopted two decades ago by Mahathir. In the past, wealth was not generated by innovation and creativity, but by foreign investment, government contracts, and privatization.
However, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi also received criticism, for supporting his family involved in violations related to the Iraq Oil-for-Food Program.
5. Mohamed Azmin Ali
Birthday: August 25, 1964
Born In: Singapore
Famous As: Malaysian Politician
Political Ideology: Political Party - PKR – Pakatan Rakyat (People's Justice Party)
- Member of the Selangor State Legislative Assembly for Bukit Antarabangsa (2008)
- Member of the Malaysian Parliament for Gombak (2008)
- Vice-President of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (2001 - 2010)
- Menteri Besar of Selangor (2014 - 2018)
- Deputy President of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (2010)
- Minister of Economic Affairs (2018)
- Ali grew up and was educated in Gombak, Kuala Lumpur.
- His hometown and began his education at Gurney Road Primary School, Setapak High School and ended it Jalan Cheras Technical Institute.
- He received his BSc in Economics and Mathematics from the University of Minnesota.
- He later completed his master's degree in Education from the University of Minnesota.
- In 1987, following advice from the Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, Azmin started working for Anwar Ibrahim, who was then a Minister in Mahathir's Barisan Nasional government.
- Azmin served as Anwar's personal secretary through Anwar's appointment as Deputy Prime Minister in 1993 and until Mahathir sacked Anwar in 1998.
Rewards & Achievements:
- Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Crown of Selangor (SPMS) - Dato' Sri
- Companion of the Order of the Crown of Selangor (SMS)
This Malaysian politician is the current Chief Minister of Selangor. Azmin Ali is also the Vice President and Co-founder of PKR (People's Justice Party).
He has served the nation as Minister of Education. In addition, he was a private secretary to Ibrahim during his tenure as deputy prime minister.
Source: Ranker, thefamouspeople, BBC