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Malaysia’s Mahathir Granted Lifetime Achievement Award

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Malaysia’s longest-serving former prime minister was honored with a lifetime achievement award at a virtual event recently that also featured a special lecture by him. The Sinan Wren Foundation, a thought leadership organization based in Turkey and the UK, hosted Mahathir Mohamad for its annual Shaykh Ahmad Al Sirhindi Ramadan Lecture. Muslim countries should ensure good governance,” said Mahathir, whose tenure as premier in the 1980s saw a steep rise in Malaysia’s socioeconomic development. “It is because of the good governance that the [Muslim] countries will progress,” he added. Muslim communities must “upgrade, educate, and make themselves skilled,” Mahathir said at the virtual event moderated from Istanbul. “Knowledge of science and mathematics is very important and everybody must have it,” he said.
Describing the former Ottoman Empire as a world power, Mahathir, a medical doctor by training, said: “We could not do much for Palestinians whose lands have been taken away because we are weak and our strategies were wrong.” Responding to a volley of questions from participants who attended the event from around the world, Mahathir repeatedly insisted that Muslims should “focus on capacity building, higher education and making themselves indispensable for the society.”
“You have to be well-educated, well-organized, disciplined, firmly objective,” he told a participant. “You have to be patient, upgrade yourself, find ways where you can become absolutely necessary to your society,” the former Malaysian premier added.
Mahathir proposed that Muslim minorities should acquire more education and skills to become innovative. “Then, the majority will see you as an important segment of the society.”
Announcing the lifetime achievement award to honor Mahathir for his public services, the foundation unveiled a plaque adorned with Islamic calligraphy. The South African calligraphist based in Istanbul who prepared the plaque explained the Arabic writing on it: “A leader of the people is the one who serves them.”

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