‘I just wanted to laugh’, Marina says of those who poked fun at Dr M’s age

Audrey Edwards
Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir says her father, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, was not an ordinary 92-year-old. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, May 26 — The stance taken by some Barisan Nasional leaders in harping about Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s age during the GE14 campaign period left his daughter very amused.

“I just wanted to laugh. I know my dad very well and he’s not an ordinary 92-year-old at all,” Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir told Malay Mail in an interview.

“I knew how much energy he had, I knew his brain was just as sharp as anything. So, you can throw insults as much as you want.”

She added that it was a “funny thing to do”, and that people usually did not like others being disrespectful to their elders.

“It goes against the grain. It’s very unAsian, un-Melayu, un-everything.”

Marina also said it was one of the points she used when she went on her campaign rounds for Pakatan Harapan (PH) in GE14.

“That’s what I mean by tone deaf. They (BN) didn’t seem to get it. It’s not on.”

She also described the move by the Election Commission to cut out photos of her father on billboards during the campaigning period as “brilliant”.

“(Liew) Chin Tong was just brilliant with it. He said, okay, I don’t agree with you but you do your job and filmed it and put it out.”

“It was the most ridiculous thing. People mocked it.”

Marina also said there came a point where she had told people if they did not know who to vote for then just vote for the side that was wittier.

“I always say the right side is wittier. You can’t be a grouch or paranoid and witty at the same time.”

She also spoke about the endless memes and cartoons that have surfaced about her father such as the one of him peeping out of a hole where they had cut his image from a billboard.

Another was of her father telling people to “Please PM me.”

Asked whether she had seen the memes made of various leaders from both PH and BN if they were ever on the dating app, Tinder, she said: “Yes, hilarious.”

“It’s young and hip. So age didn’t matter at all. It was a real mistake on their part to harp on age.”

When asked where did Dr Mahathir and her mother Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali get their energy from, she said: “I don’t know. Partly genetics,” saying that her father never stopped working even when he retired in addition to taking good care of his health.