Mahathir bin Mohammad, former Prime Minister of Malaysia, was born in Alor Star in 1925. He studied medicine at King Edward VII College in Singapore. After two years as a medical officer in the Malayan government, he set up his own practice.
Dr. Mohammad joined the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) since its inception in 1946, and was elected to Parliament in 1964. He served as Chairman of the first Higher Education Council, Member of the University of Malays Council and Chairman of the National University Council. In 1973, he was appointed as a Senator, but relinquished the post in the following year to contest in general elections. After winning in the elections, he was appointed Minster of Education and Deputy Prime Minister, then Minister of Trade and Industry. He was elected as Vice-President (1975) then President (1980) of UMNO, and became the fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia from 1980 to 2003. Under his leadership, the country witnessed substantial socio-economic development and was transformed, within a few years, into one of the most prosperous and modern industrial nations in Southeast Asia.
Dr. Mohammad is a widely respected Muslim statesman whose wisdom and moderation reflect the magnanimity and forebearance of Islam. His policies have succeeded in achieving rapport between Malaysian Muslims and non-Muslims. Under his capable leadership, Malaysia matured into a racially harmonious, united, and prosperous society. He also plays an important role in promoting Islamic cultural and economic institutions in Malaysia, and is an ardent supporter of the rights of Muslim minorities, especially in Southeast Asia.
He published several articles embodying his political and economic insights and his concept of Islam. He received numerous international awards. His biography has been the subject of several books and articles.
Dr. Mahatir bin Mohammed served as Malaysia’s Prime Minister for 13 years.
The Honorable SeriDato DR. Mahathir Bin Mohammed has been awarded the prize in recognition of his outstanding accomplishments. Dr. Mohammad is a widely respected Muslim statesman whose wisdom and moderation during his 16 years of premiership have reflected the magnanimity and forbearance of Islam. His policies have fostered rapport and cooperation between Malaysian Muslims and non-Muslims, thereby enabling him to lead his country toward modernization and economic prosperity.
Dr. Mohammad has played an important role in establishing several Islamic cultural and economic institutions in Malaysia. These include the International Islamic University, the Islamic Center, the Islamic Bank, and the Islamic Economic Development Foundation of Malaysia. Through his efforts within various Islamic organizations he also played a key role in solving disputes in Muslim countries and in supporting the rights of Muslim minorities, especially in south-east Asia.