KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 14 — Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who joined other world dignitaries Thursday in paying their last respects to former South African President Nelson Mandela, was in Pretoria as a personal representative of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. In a statement, the Foreign Ministry said Dr Mahathir also led his delegation to convey their condolences as well as Najib’s personal message to the family of the late anti-apartheid icon.
Mandela, 95, died at his home in Johannesburg on Dec 5 after battling a prolonged lung infection.
“The late Nelson Mandela and Dr Mahathir enjoyed a very close relationship, dating back to the challenging times when South Africa was under the apartheid regime,” the statement said.
It noted that Malaysia played a supporting role in South Africa’s preparations for its democratic election in 1994 which saw the country voting Mandela as its first black president.
Dr Mahathir was accompanied on the trip to South Africa by his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, Malaysian High Commissioner Kennedy Jawan, business figure Tan Sri Lim Kok Wing as well as senior officials from the Prime Minister’s Office and Foreign Ministry.—Bernama