PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has been listed among the world’s 50 greatest leaders by Fortune magazine.
He was placed 47th, behind American business leader Tricia Griffith and ahead of basketball coach Tony Bennet of the University of Virginia.
Fortune placed Bill and Melinda Gates first on the list, ahead of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, and Robert Mueller, special counsel at the US Justice Department.
Other prominent celebrities on list include Swedish student and climate activist Greta Thunberg (6th), Apple chief executive Tim Cook (14th) and Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan (42nd).
Fortune described Mahathir as “writing an unexpected chapter in his legacy”.
In a two-paragraph citation, Fortune said: “During his first, 22-year tenure as prime minister, from 1981 to 2003, he turned Malaysia into one of Southeast Asia’s economic tigers, but his ornery disregard for the judiciary and the press hinted at autocratic leanings. Last year, he returned from seclusion to run for office on an anti-corruption platform, leading a new political party to a shocking victory over incumbent Najib Razak.”
“Mahathir is now tackling the endemic corruption plaguing the country’s institutions, and has brought Najib to court on charges connected to the 1MDB scandal, a sprawling malfeasance case that has ensnared Wall Street bankers and government officials (Najib denies the charges). Mahathir and his party are now moving to protect judicial independence and press freedom, recognizing that they help keep a democracy honest.”
Last month, Mahathir was listed among Time magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2019.