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Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad during his swearing-in ceremony in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, July 16, 2018 (AP photo by Yam G-Jun).

How Ex-Strongman Mahathir Became Malaysia’s Great Democratic Hope

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia—As Malaysia’s longest-serving prime minister, from 1981 to 2003, Mahathir Mohamad oversaw crackdowns on the free press. He sought to undermine the country’s independent judiciary. And he arrested and jailed political opponents.

Today, however, the 93-year-old Mahathir is not only back in the prime minister’s office, he’s the face of a once-opposition party now being hailed as Malaysia’s great democratic hope. ...

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