Mahathir Frowns on Political Dynasties, but His Son Gets Waiver

HONG KONG — One person who’s not impressed by the field of candidates competing in Saturday’s Malaysian election is former premier Mahathir Mohammad, who lorded over the peninsula with an iron fist and an acid tongue for two decades. Five years after standing down, he says he’s unhappy with the record number of second-generation candidates running for office; but there are exceptions.

“I do not want the people to say that I am setting up a dynasty,” he recently told the Bernama news agency. “We should not have a dynasty in our country’s politics.”

Nurul Izzah Anwar, the 27-year-old daughter of political dissident Anwar Ibrahim, who was jailed by Mahathir, is vying for a seat for the opposition Keadilan party, which is controlled by her mother.

The son-in-law of current prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Khairy Jamaluddin, has also entered the race, as has Lim Guan Eng, son of outspoken parliamentary opposition leader Lim Kit Siang.

Gobind Deo Singh, son of the chairman of the opposition Democratic Action Party Karpal Singh, is also in the running.

Should they win, each of the new members of parliament will serve beside deputy premier Najib Razak, son of Malaysia’s second prime minister, Razak Hussein, and Education Minister Hishammuddin, who is the son of the third prime minister, Hussein Onn.

But one other candidate stands out among the names on the March 8 ballot.

Mukhriz Mahathir, son the former premier who says he’s opposed to the political antics of other families, is also standing as a candidate for the ruling United Malays National Organization (UMNO).
The 44-year-old Mukhriz, an experienced businessman, appears to have been granted a waiver from dad.

Senior Mahathir also told the Bernama news agency he would steer clear of his son’s political career, adding that while he would not campaign on his behalf: “I give him my blessings,” he said. “It is up to the people who are going to vote.”

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