He was the fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia. He held the post for 22 years from 1981 to 2003, making him one of the longest-serving leaders in Asia. He was the nation's first Prime Minister that came from a modest social background, whereas the first three prime ministers were members of the royal or elite families.
During his term in office, he was credited for engineering Malaysia's rapid modernisation. Mahathir is also known for his criticisms towards western and developed countries. During his administration, he was considered to be one of Asia's most influential leaders. Mahathir is also noted in the Western world as an outspoken critic of Western-style globalization.