Quarrelling with ex-PM kept my brain active, Dr M quips

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad today revealed that one of the many ways he continues to stay active and on his toes, even at 93, is to come up with ideas to change the way his predecessors managed the government.

In his opening speech at an event on ageing and technology use at Suria KLCC here, Mahathir told the 100-strong audience that they would age faster if they did not actively use their muscles and brain power.

“Then the ability to talk, to lecture, to speak out, to complain … that will all go because your brain is no longer functioning.

“So I suppose it is good for old people to read, to write, and also to quarrel because that exercises your brain,” Mahathir said.

The “Ageing, Learning and Technology: Enriching Lives, Connecting Communities” event was organised by the Third Age Media Association. His wife, Dr Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali, was also present.

Mahathir spoke on his “big quarrel with a previous prime minister”.

“So all the time, my brain was actively thinking about ways and means to change the government.

“When you keep on thinking, using your brain, that means you will not lose your memory.”

The Langkawi MP and PPBM chairman said although the muscles of “old people” tend to become weaker over time, they should not “sleep things off”. He said this would only make things worse.

“There are some people who upon retirement just want to retire. They want to do nothing.

“Of course, you have to prepare for the after-life, that’s where we all will go, but if you don’t make use of this life, the opportunities given to you now, then you will reach that destination earlier.”

He said that although he himself had retired from public service many years ago, he made a comeback after being approached and was asked to intervene twice, after Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Najib Razak, respectively, took office as prime minister.

On Najib, Mahathir said people came to see him to “do something”.

“First I tried to advise but it didn’t work. Then I decided I can’t have this man as my leader.

“So, I formed a party to defeat my own party. However, that’s history, but not very old history.

“The important thing is that you have to be active.”

Mahathir expressed disappointment that he was not jogging any more as it made him breathless.

“All I can do now is work, so I continue to work,” adding that he was not doing it because he liked it but rather because he was being “forced into it” by those around him.