NEW YORK: His views on New Malaysia and world affairs were much sought after by those who met up with the world’s oldest premier.
However, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s political comeback was what impressed most of the influence-shapers, including world and business leaders, who attended the meetings and dialogue sessions, featuring the Malaysian Prime Minister.
Former Australian premier Kevin Rudd (pic), for example, bestowed Dr Mahathir with the title of “patron saint of political comebacks”.
Rudd, who chaired a dialogue session with Dr Mahathir at the Asia Society here, called the 93-year-old serving his second stint as Prime Minister, Malaysia’s new old and old new leader.
“In many parts of the world, we regard you as the patron saint of the political comeback.
“Its a remarkable achievement and those of us in this region watched it very closely,” said Rudd.
A member of the audience referred Dr Mahathir, who holds the current Guinness record for oldest Prime Minister, as the “elder statesman of Asia ... actually, the elder statesman of the planet”, drawing laughter and applause from the crowd.
At a dinner with the US-Asean Business Council and US Chamber of Commerce, an official, who introduced Dr Mahathir jokingly referred to his remarkable feat of serving twice as Prime Minister from 1981 to 2003 and since the May 9 polls.
“Ladies and gentlemen, let’s welcome Malaysia’s fourth and seventh Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad,” he said.