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Saturday December 7, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Saturday December 7, 2013 MYT 8:39:17 AM
KUALA LUMPUR: The late Nelson Mandela is the leader that former Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad admires the most.
Dr Mahathir, who welcomed Mandela to Malaysia mere months after he was released from prison in 1990, described the passing of his “dear friend” as a “great personal loss”.
“He was a forgiving person. He bore no animosity towards those who had imprisoned him and all he cared about was reconciliation and the sharing of his country’s wealth and opportunities between blacks and whites.
“Few in the world had exhibited this kind of magnanimity.
“Whenever I am asked who I admire most among the leaders I have met, I have no hesitation in naming Nelson Mandela,” he said in a statement here yesterday.
Mandela, said Dr Mahathir, was truly a great leader with incredible fortitude and unflinching dedication to the cause of social justice.
“His passing is a great personal loss to me and to all African people.”
Mandela was also the first recipient of the Mahathir for Global Peace Award, which was received by current South African president Jacob Zuma on his behalf.
According to a Wisma Putra statement, Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor and Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili will represent the Malaysian government to pay final respects on his death.
Wisma Putra said Mandela’s strength of character, perseverance and leadership qualities befitted the challenging times that South Africa had faced during its struggle against the apartheid regime and for its independence.
“He will be deeply missed for his influence and contribution in the fight for equality, humanity and reconciliation,” it said, adding that Malaysia had sent its deepest sympathies and condolences to the South Africa government and people for their loss.
“We would also like to extend our heartfelt feelings of profound sympathy to the late Mandela’s family as they grieve their personal loss,” it said.
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