What does it take to govern Malaysia? Acceptance of ‘nasty things’ said, says Dr M

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad interacts with humanoid robot Sophia during the ‘Beyond Paradigm Summit 2019’ in Kuala Lumpur July 17, 2019. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad interacts with humanoid robot Sophia during the ‘Beyond Paradigm Summit 2019’ in Kuala Lumpur July 17, 2019. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

KUALA LUMPUR, July 17 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today revealed his key criterion to governing Malaysia — the ability to tolerate diverse views.

The prime minister a second time around said the ability to put up with many things is especially true of “all the nasty things said” about one’s self.

“You have to be able to withstand all the nasty things said about you, especially through the press,” he told reporters after launching the Beyond Paradigm Summit 2019 at the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre here.

The 94-year-old was asked the other qualities, apart from wisdom and knowledge, necessary to rule a country.

Dr Mahathir, the world’s oldest head of government, is serving as prime minister again after stepping down from office in October 2003.

This time, he heads the Pakatan Harapan coalition comprising political parties that used to be on the opposite side when he was PM the first time from 1981 to 2003.

In a Chinese New Year message last February, Dr Mahathir pledged to defend Malaysia’s stability and harmony and urged Malaysians not to take relations between people of different religious and cultural backgrounds for granted.

Today’s summit, aimed at spurring the development of the Industrial Revolution 4.0 industry in the country, also the prime minister interact with a humanoid robot called Sophia, which left him impressed.

“It is amazing that she is almost real, her face, her eyes, even her mouth moved.

“The eyes responded and looked at me. Even I was scared to look back at her. If I were to come across her late at night, I would be running,” he said.

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