Published online by Cambridge University Press: 21 October 2015
Amidst tears and apprehension about a future without a man who became synonymous with Malaysia for over a generation, Malaysia's fourth and longest-serving prime minister stepped down after a sixteen-month transition on 31 October 2003, making way for the tenure of his appointed deputy, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Malaysia's new prime minister faces an extraordinary set of challenges, many of which were the direct result of his predecessor's twenty-two-year premiership that ended on a high note of international stature and strong domestic support, especially among non-Malays. Mahathir's last year in office was indeed a tribute to his service to Malaysia, yet it was riddled with controversy at home and abroad as his style of rule and views provoked strong criticism. Abdullah's first few months in office sent a signal that his leadership differed both in style and substance. However, he needs to obtain a strong political mandate in the general election and party elections in 2004, before he can effectively implement reforms and initiate policies that address some of the problems Tun Mahathir left behind.
Grand and Controversial International Exit
Over the course of his twenty-two years in office, Mahathir propelled Malaysia onto the international stage, citing its success in managing ethnic tensions, promoting economic development and projecting an anti-Western stance as a calling card for the developing world and Muslim nations. While the merits of Mahathir's record in these areas remain contentious, 2003 was used to solidify his role as an international spokesman on issues of co-operation and social justice in the international community. The year saw the culmination of a gradual progression of a foreign policy over the last third of his years in office involving extensive overseas travel and the systematic expansion of his exposure in Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. At its core Mahathir projected himself as one of the leading critics of the United States, whose policy in Iraq isolated itself from the international community.
To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.
To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.
To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.