10:00-11:00 Saturday, May 25, 2013
Mahathir bin Mohamad
Former Prime Minister of Malaysia
The FCCJ is proud to host a press conference with Malaysia's outspoken and controversial former Prime Minister. Mahathir is credited with transforming his country into an Asian Tiger, underpinned by his "Look East" policy, learning from the rapid development of Japan and South Korea. But his human rights' record has earned him critics.
He was the driving force between major projects such as the Multimedia Super Corridor, with the aim of making Malaysia a fully developed country by 2020. He proposed the formation of the East Asia Economic Caucus free trade zone.
Mahathir is known to be critical of the US, especially its so-called war on terrorism and has repeatedly warned that the US military is preparing to attack Iran. He also has a reputation for ignoring human rights and freedom of speech. He famously sacked his deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim, sentencing him to jail for sodomy.
The 87 year old is still active. He campaigned for the Barisan Nasional coalition ahead of the May 5 general election. Barisan won a majority, but only 133 of the 222 seats in parliament, resulting in its worst performance ever, while the 3 opposition parties won the popular vote.
Widely known as Dr. M, he studied medicine and ran a private clinic before entering politics. He was first elected to parliament in 1969 and served as Prime Minister from 1981 to 2003. Mahathir is in Tokyo to attend Nikkei's annual conference "The Future of Asia."