“Students must study hard and acquire all the knowledge that you can. Also learn to understand your environment, the people you live with and how you can handle relations with other people, so that this country will remain peaceful and safe for all”, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad’s advice to the current school going generation for the future of Malaysia.
“Not much difference. I know the kind of problems that I faced. Example, I had problems in choosing my successor. I would be more careful to choose my successor”, answering to a question if he had an opportunity to go back as the Prime Minister. would he done things differently.
About his book ‘A Doctor in the House’, “I learnt a lot of lessons in life. I think it benefitted me. I want to share my experience”.
“I am very well occupied. I come to office like anyone else. Sometimes I stay in office, longer than other people. Lots of people come and see me. People invite me to give talks. People invited me to go to foreign countries, to talk about my experience. And lots of questions asked about Malaysia. So, I am a very busy man, including schoolchildren coming to see me and asking me a lot of questions”, teasing them coyly when asked how does his time is spent.
The Fourth Prime Minister spoke to some Form Four students of Sekolah Menengah Damansara Utama.
Answering to a question about the progress made during his time as the Prime Minister till present day, “I thought it would make some progress. People responded strongly to the ideas that I had. For example, when I decided to improve the appearance of KL, everybody became excited and did a lot of work. The same thing for Langkawi. People worked very hard, to make it a success. I appreciate it. Without them, I would not able to succeed. Because of their efforts, we achieved much better than expected”.
“You must love your school and do your best for your school. And by extension, your country. You must think of others and not just yourselves”, the parting amanat of Fourth Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad as he spoke to some sixteen year olds in an interview. He also recollected his experience when he was a teenager and had to fend for himself by becoming a petty trader during World War II in Alor Star, when his studies was interrupted.
It was amazing that how he could simplify his thoughts and vast experience, to speak and inspire secondary school teenagers despite the seventy years age difference. He reminded them to learn about the past and understand history and quoted George Santayana’s famous words on the matter.