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Nationwide anxiety over Dr Mahathir’s health

This follows his third admission to the National Heart Institute in a matter of weeks.

Staff Writers
2 minute read
Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

There has been anxiety across the country since word emerged that Dr Mahathir Mohamad has returned to hospital, more than a week after undergoing an elective surgery.

The news also prompted Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob to head to the National Heart Institute (IJN) where Mahathir is being treated, where he also met the veteran leader’s wife Dr Siti Hasmah Ali.

Malaysians have been fed with rumours and speculation surrounding the health of the 96-year-old veteran leader, after an aide to Mahathir said a statement was being planned to give an update on the condition of the former prime minister.

This is Mahathir’s third admission to IJN since last December, when doctors said they were carrying out a series of tests.

Mahathir, whose energetic appearance despite his age has been a source of inspiration for healthy living, is a familiar patient at IJN, where he underwent a heart bypass surgery in 2007 after suffering two heart attacks the previous year.

Earlier today, his long-time aide Sufi Yusof told the media that a statement could be issued by either IJN or family members on his health condition.

Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob (right) speaks with Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s wife Dr Siti Hasmah Ali at the National Heart Institute where the veteran leader is being treated.

The announcement prompted speculation, leading to another message from Sufi who appealed to reporters for patience, adding that there were sensitivities involved.

“I’m doing my level best to get those issues out of the way so that we may give a clear and accurate picture of the situation,” he said in response to queries from reporters.

Mahathir made history after becoming prime minister twice. His first term of 22 years saw Malaysia’s economic and social transformation due to his various policies, attracting both praise and criticism from around the world.

He resigned from the top office during his short second term following the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan government, a coalition made up of his traditional political enemies which rode on his popularity to come to power in the 2018 polls.