Charismatic Political Leadership and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Malaysia: Power, Control, Stability and Defence


  • Suleyman Temiz
  • Arshad Islam



Prior to his renewed incumbency, as the fourth Prime Minister of
Malaysia, Mahathir Mohamad (b. 1925) was able to remain in power for a
more prolonged period compared to his predecessors. He was actively involved
in galvanizing political action immediately after the independence of Malaysia
and did not abandon active politics until his 2003 resignation. Under Mahathir’s
leadership and guidance, Malaysia made remarkable economic and political
progress. He oversaw many innovations in the fledgling democracy and was
able to develop the country due to his exceptional leadership qualities. His style
and attitude towards engaging with problems, particularly his stance during the
Asian Monetary Crisis in 1997, was highly criticized by some, and labelled as
dictatorial. This stigma did not detract him from the path he considered right
for Malaysia, and under his leadership he garnered worldwide appreciation for
his national efforts and success in overcoming the economic crisis. Mahathir
is undeniably an excellent case study as a prime minister, as well as a highly

productive person. He contributed to a better understanding of modern
Malaysia and his own tenure as PM in a series of books and articles. One of
the significant aspects of his political heritage is his influential charisma and
leadership. In all of his undertakings he has attracted both passionate support
and hatred from friends and foes, but his political footsteps have always been
certain and directed toward Malaysia’s national wellbeing. Mahathir is a
politician with sharp views on many issues and he was profoundly brave in
verbalising them in the public arena, within Malaysia and internationally. His
clear posture and speeches without fear made him a world-embracing political
personality. This descriptive research study adopts a qualitative approach to
analyse historical information, documents, memoirs and articles, and books to
better understand the leadership of Mahathir.


Download data is not yet available.




How to Cite

Suleyman Temiz, & Arshad Islam. (2019). Charismatic Political Leadership and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Malaysia: Power, Control, Stability and Defence. Intellectual Discourse, 27(2), 475–505.