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Valentine Osipov
Valentine Osipov

A Doctor in the House Mahathir pdf: The Story of Malaysia's Transformation and Development under Mahathir Mohamad

A Doctor in the House Mahathir pdf download: A Review of the Memoirs of Malaysia's Longest-Serving Prime Minister

If you are interested in learning more about the history, politics, and culture of Malaysia, one of the most fascinating and diverse countries in Southeast Asia, you might want to read A Doctor in the House: The Memoirs of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. This book is an autobiography of Mahathir Mohamad, who was the fourth and seventh Prime Minister of Malaysia, holding office for a total of 24 years from 1981 to 2003 and from 2018 to 2020. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential and controversial leaders in Asia, who transformed Malaysia from an agricultural backwater into an industrial powerhouse, but also faced criticism for his authoritarianism, corruption, and human rights violations. In this article, we will review his book and explore his life story, achievements, challenges, and legacy.

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Who is Mahathir Mohamad?

Mahathir Mohamad was born on July 10, 1925, in Alor Setar, Kedah, a state in northern Malaya (now Malaysia). He is of Malay ethnicity, with Indian ancestry on his father's side. He grew up in a modest family, with his father working as a teacher and later as a civil servant. He was exposed to various influences during his childhood, such as Malay culture, Islam, English education, Indian movies, and Japanese occupation. He developed a keen interest in reading, writing, debating, and politics from a young age.

What is A Doctor in the House?

A Doctor in the House is a memoir that covers Mahathir's life from his birth until his retirement from politics in 2003. It was published in 2011 by MPH Publishing, a Malaysian company. The book comprises 62 chapters spanning 809 pages. It is written in a candid and conversational style, with Mahathir sharing his personal experiences, opinions, insights, and anecdotes on various topics. The book also contains many photographs, documents, letters, speeches, and cartoons that illustrate his life and career.

Why should you read this book?

You should read this book if you want to gain a deeper understanding of Malaysia's modern history and development, as well as the challenges and opportunities it faces in the 21st century. You will also learn about Mahathir's vision and values, as well as his successes and failures as a leader. You will get to know his personality, motivations, passions, fears, hopes, regrets, and dreams. You will also discover some of the secrets, scandals, and controversies that surrounded him and his administration. Whether you agree or disagree with him, you will find his book to be an engaging, informative, and provocative read.

Main Body

Mahathir's Early Life and Education

His childhood and family background

Mahathir was the youngest of nine children in his family. He had a happy and carefree childhood, playing with his siblings and friends, and enjoying the rural scenery and lifestyle. He was close to his mother, who taught him the values of honesty, hard work, and respect. He was also influenced by his father, who instilled in him a sense of pride, ambition, and patriotism. He admired his father's intelligence, courage, and integrity, and aspired to follow his footsteps.

His medical studies and career

Mahathir was a bright and diligent student, who excelled in both academic and extracurricular activities. He attended several schools in Kedah and Penang, where he learned English, Malay, Arabic, Tamil, and Japanese. He developed a passion for medicine, and decided to pursue a career as a doctor. He obtained a scholarship to study at the King Edward VII College of Medicine in Singapore (now part of the National University of Singapore), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degree in 1953. He then returned to Malaya and worked as a government medical officer in various hospitals and clinics. He also opened his own private practice in Alor Setar, where he treated patients from all walks of life.

His involvement in politics and nationalism

Mahathir was drawn to politics since his school days, when he joined various clubs and societies that discussed current affairs and social issues. He was especially interested in the struggle for independence from British colonial rule, which he witnessed firsthand during the Malayan Emergency (1948-1960), a guerrilla war between the communist insurgents and the British-backed government. He supported the nationalist movement led by Tunku Abdul Rahman, the leader of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), the dominant party in the Alliance coalition that represented the interests of the Malay majority. He became a member of UMNO in 1946, and rose through the ranks to become a branch chairman, divisional committee member, and executive council member. He also wrote articles and letters for various newspapers and magazines, expressing his views on politics, economics, culture, religion, and race relations.

Mahathir's Political Career and Achievements

His rise to power and leadership style

Mahathir entered parliament in 1964 as the MP for Kota Setar Selatan. He quickly gained a reputation as a vocal and outspoken critic of the government's policies, especially on issues such as education, language, corruption, poverty, and national unity. He challenged the status quo and advocated for reforms and changes that would benefit the Malays and other disadvantaged groups. He also clashed with some of the senior leaders of UMNO and the Alliance, including Tunku Abdul Rahman himself. In 1969, he was expelled from UMNO for writing a controversial book titled The Malay Dilemma, which argued that the Malays were lagging behind other races due to their genetic inferiority and cultural backwardness.

However, Mahathir made a comeback in 1972 when he was readmitted into UMNO by Abdul Razak Hussein, who became the second Prime Minister after Tunku Abdul Rahman resigned following the racial riots of 1969. Mahathir was appointed as a senator, then as the Minister of Education, where he implemented policies that favored the Malays in terms of scholarships, quotas, curriculum, language, and culture. He also played a key role in drafting the New Economic Policy (NEP), which aimed to eradicate poverty and reduce economic disparities among different ethnic groups by promoting affirmative action for the Bumiputeras (Malays and other indigenous peoples).

In 1981, Mahathir succeeded Hussein Onn as the third Prime Minister of Malaysia. He consolidated his power by appointing loyalists to key positions in the government, party, bureaucracy, media, judiciary, military, police, and business sectors. He also restructured UMNO into a more centralized and disciplined organization that dominated Malaysian politics for decades. He led UMNO to win five consecutive general elections with landslide victories.

Mahathir was known for his strong-willed and charismatic leadership style. He was decisive, visionary, and pragmatic. He was also innovative, adventurous, and risk-taking. He was not afraid to challenge conventional wisdom or defy external pressures. He was also ruthless, stubborn, and arrogant. He did not tolerate dissent or opposition. His economic policies and vision for Malaysia

Mahathir was the architect of Malaysia's economic transformation from a primary commodity producer to a diversified and industrialized nation. He pursued an export-oriented and market-driven strategy that attracted foreign investment, promoted trade, and stimulated growth. He also initiated various mega-projects and development programs that improved the infrastructure, transportation, communication, energy, education, health, and tourism sectors. He also fostered a culture of entrepreneurship, innovation, and competitiveness among Malaysians.

Mahathir's vision for Malaysia was to achieve developed nation status by the year 2020. He outlined his vision in a document called Vision 2020, which identified nine strategic challenges that Malaysia had to overcome in order to become a fully developed country that was united, democratic, ethical, progressive, prosperous, equitable, tolerant, harmonious, and confident. He also launched the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC), a high-tech zone that aimed to create a conducive environment for the development of information and communication technology (ICT) industries.

His foreign relations and role in the Islamic world

Mahathir was an outspoken and influential leader in the international arena. He advocated for the interests and rights of developing countries, especially in Asia and Africa. He also championed the causes of the Muslim world, such as the Palestinian issue, the Bosnian war, and the Iraq invasion. He was critical of the Western powers, especially the United States, for their hegemony, interference, and double standards in global affairs. He also promoted regional cooperation and integration among ASEAN countries, as well as with other Asian countries such as China, Japan, India, and Korea.

Mahathir also sought to modernize and reform Islam in Malaysia and beyond. He emphasized the need for Muslims to embrace science, technology, education, and democracy as part of their Islamic values. He also encouraged Muslims to be moderate, tolerant, and progressive in their outlook and practice. He opposed extremism, fundamentalism, and terrorism in the name of Islam. He also initiated various initiatives to enhance dialogue and understanding among different civilizations and religions.

Mahathir's Controversies and Challenges

His clashes with the royalty and judiciary

Mahathir had several conflicts with the Malaysian royalty and judiciary during his tenure as Prime Minister. He challenged the privileges and powers of the nine hereditary sultans who ruled over their respective states and rotated as the constitutional monarch of Malaysia. He accused them of interfering in politics, abusing their authority, and violating human rights. He also proposed constitutional amendments that curtailed their immunity from prosecution, reduced their role in appointing judges, and abolished their veto over state legislation. He also faced resistance from some of the judges who opposed his policies or ruled against him in some cases. He responded by suspending or removing them from office, and appointing new judges who were more loyal or compliant to him.

His suppression of dissent and human rights

Mahathir was notorious for his intolerance of dissent and opposition from any quarters. He used various laws and institutions to suppress his critics and rivals, such as the Internal Security Act (ISA), the Sedition Act, the Official Secrets Act, the Printing Presses and Publications Act, the Police Act, the Anti-Corruption Agency, and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission. He also controlled most of the mainstream media outlets, and censored or banned any publications that were deemed seditious, defamatory, or harmful to national security or public order. He also detained or arrested many activists, journalists, academics, lawyers, politicians, and religious leaders who challenged or criticized him or his government. He also denied them fair trials or due process of law.

His fallout with Anwar Ibrahim and Abdullah Badawi

Mahathir's most dramatic and consequential challenge came from within his own party and government. In 1998, he sacked his deputy prime minister and heir apparent Anwar Ibrahim, who was widely seen as a reformist and popular leader among the younger generation and urban voters. He accused Anwar of corruption and sodomy, and had him arrested and tried in a controversial and widely condemned court case. Anwar's supporters staged massive protests and rallies demanding his release and Mahathir's resignation. They also formed a new opposition coalition called Reformasi (Reform), which posed a serious threat to Mahathir's and UMNO's dominance.

In 2003, Mahathir retired and handed over power to his successor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who was expected to continue his legacy and policies. However, Abdullah soon proved to be a disappointment and a liability to Mahathir and UMNO. He was perceived as weak, inefficient, corrupt, and indecisive. He also reversed or abandoned some of Mahathir's projects and initiatives, such as the MSC, the crooked bridge to Singapore, and the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail. He also failed to contain the rising tide of opposition and public discontent, which resulted in UMNO's worst electoral performance in history in 2008, losing its two-thirds majority in parliament and five state governments.


Summary of the main points

In conclusion, A Doctor in the House is a memoir that tells the story of Mahathir Mohamad, one of the most remarkable and controversial leaders in Malaysia and Asia. It covers his life from his birth in 1925 until his retirement in 2003, and reveals his personal and professional experiences, achievements, challenges, and legacy. It also provides a comprehensive and insightful account of Malaysia's modern history and development, as well as the issues and challenges it faces in the 21st century.

Evaluation of the book's strengths and weaknesses

The book's strengths are its readability, authenticity, and comprehensiveness. It is written in a clear and engaging style, with Mahathir's distinctive voice and personality shining through. It is also honest and candid, with Mahathir admitting his mistakes and regrets, as well as defending his actions and views. It is also comprehensive and detailed, covering a wide range of topics and events that shaped Mahathir's life and career, as well as Malaysia's history and development.

The book's weaknesses are its bias, selectivity, and inconsistency. It is biased and subjective, with Mahathir presenting his version of the truth and reality, often ignoring or dismissing alternative perspectives or evidence. It is also selective and incomplete, with Mahathir omitting or glossing over some aspects or episodes of his life and career that are inconvenient or embarrassing to him or his image. It is also inconsistent and contradictory, with Mahathir changing his opinions or positions on some issues over time, without acknowledging or explaining his shifts or contradictions.

Recommendations for further reading

If you want to learn more about Mahathir Mohamad and Malaysia, you might want to read some of these books:

  • The Malay Dilemma by Mahathir Mohamad: This is the book that made Mahathir famous and controversial in 1970. It analyzes the causes and consequences of the socio-economic gap between the Malays and other races in Malaysia, and proposes solutions to overcome it.

  • Mahathir: The Secret of the Malaysian Success by Hajrudin Somun: This is a biography of Mahathir written by a former ambassador of Bosnia-Herzegovina to Malaysia. It traces Mahathir's life and career from his childhood until his retirement in 2003, and highlights his achievements and contributions to Malaysia and the Muslim world.

  • Anwar Ibrahim: Evolution of a Muslim Democrat by Charles Allers: This is a biography of Anwar Ibrahim, Mahathir's former deputy prime minister who became his arch-rival and opponent. It chronicles Anwar's life and career from his student activism days until his imprisonment and release in 2018, and explores his role and vision for Malaysia's reform movement.

  • Mahathir vs. Abdullah: Covert Wars & Challenged Legacies by Nathaniel Tan: This is a book that examines the conflict and rivalry between Mahathir and Abdullah Badawi, who succeeded him as prime minister in 2003. It analyzes the reasons behind their fallout, their differences in policies and styles, and their impact on Malaysia's politics and society.

  • The End of UMNO?: Essays on Malaysias Dominant Party by Bridget Welsh (ed.): This is a collection of essays that explores the decline and demise of UMNO, the party that ruled Malaysia for over six decades under Mahathir and other leaders. It examines the causes and consequences of UMNO's loss of power in 2018, its internal divisions and crises, its relations with other parties and groups, and its prospects for survival or revival.


  • Where can I download A Doctor in the House Mahathir pdf?

You can download A Doctor in the House Mahathir pdf from various online sources, such as,, or However, you should be aware of the potential legal and ethical issues of downloading copyrighted material without permission or payment.

  • What is Mahathir Mohamad's net worth?

According to, Mahathir Mohamad's net worth is estimated to be $45 million as of 2020. However, this figure may not reflect his true wealth, as he has been accused of amassing billions of dollars through corruption and cronyism during his tenure as prime minister.