BEIJING, Aug 19 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad pointed out tonight that he would not have become a doctor if meritocracy was rigorously applied to his candidacy for medical school.
The prime minister told Malaysians living in Beijing at a special dinner tonight that he only obtained middling results in his Cambridge examinations in 1947, and there were many others who did much better.
“Strictly speaking, I shouldn’t have been given a chance. I had three A’s while others had six or seven A’s,” he said.
Dr Mahathir was responding to a question from the floor on when Malaysia would introduce strict meritocracy now that his Pakatan Harapan (PH) is in power.
He argued that he then ended up studying even harder once he gained placement in university, while many others considered more qualified than him ended up dropping out.
“It’s not always the top men who are the best men.
“Sometimes it’s the second or third or the fourth, if they are given the chance. They too can shine.”
He said that the most qualified person should always get into university.
However, the prime minister argued that those “who are second” should also be given a chance.
“Otherwise the poor will become poorer and the rich will become richer,” he said.
Dr Mahathir said many qualified professionals such as doctors were also not always the best in class.
“Otherwise, I would not allow them to cut my chest and play with my heart,” he said in an obvious reference to his previous heart surgeries.