Malaysia’s Mahathir in hospital for chest infection

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) – Malaysia’s veteran former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, who has been picked to lead an opposition bid for election victory, has been admitted to hospital with a chest infection, authorities said yesterday.

The 92-year-old, “is being treated in the general ward for chest infection following a bout of cough,” the National Heart Institute said in a statement.

Mahathir was admitted late Friday and would remain for a few days for “treatment and observation”.

In recent weeks, Mahathir has been criss-crossing the country to beef up support for the opposition with polls fast approaching.

Mahathir has undergone two coronary bypass surgeries, in 1989 and 2007.

Mahathir, who during his 22-year tenure as prime minister earned the reputation of being an authoritarian, could emerge as the world’s oldest leader if the opposition wins.

But political observers say it will be a tough battle to oust Najib’s Barisan Nasional which has been in power since independence in 1957 because the opposition is split.

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. – BERNAMA