Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad became the fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia on 16 July 1981.
Born on 20 December 1925 in Alor Setar, the capital of the State of Kedah, Tun Dr. Mahathir did his early and secondary education in his home town. In 1947, he gained admission into the King Edward VII College of Medicine in Singapore.
Upon graduation, he joined the Malaysian government service as a Medical Officer. He left in 1957 to set up his own practice in Alor Setar.
Tun Dr. Mahathir has been active in politics since 1945. He has been a member of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) since its inception in 1946.
He was first elected as a Member of Parliament following the General Elections in 1964. However, he lost his seat in the subsequent General Election in 1969.
Owing to his keen interest in the country's education, he was appointed Chairman of the first Higher Education Council in 1968, Member of the Higher Education Advisory Council in 1972, Member of the University Court and University of Malaya Council, and Chairman of the National University Council in 1974.
In 1973, Tun Dr. Mahathir was appointed a Senator. He relinquished this post in order to contest in the 1974 General Elections where he was returned unopposed. Following the elections, Tun Dr. Mahathir was appointed the Minister of Education.
In 1976, Tun Dr. Mahathir was made Deputy Prime Minister in addition to his Education portfolio. In a Cabinet reshuffle two years later, he relinquished the Education portfolio for that of Trade and Industry. As Minister of Trade and Industry, he led several investment promotion missions overseas.
Tun Dr. Mahathir was elected as one of the three Vice Presidents of UMNO in 1975. In 1978, he won the Deputy President seat and in 1981, he was appointed President of the party. He was returned unopposed as President in 1984.
In the 1987 party elections, Tun Dr. Mahathir defeated his challenger to retain the Presidency and in 1990 and 1993, he was again returned unopposed as party President. Under his leadership, the ruling party Barisan Nasional (National Front) won landslide victories in the 1982, 1986, 1990, 1995 and 1999 General Elections.
Tun Dr. Mahathir is married to a doctor, Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah bt Mohd Ali, and they have seven children Marina, Mirzan, Melinda, Mokhzani, Mukhriz, Maizura and Mazhar.
Tun Dr. Mahathir stepped down as Prime Minister on October 31st 2003.