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Mahathir Mohamad

Mahathir Mohamad, financial crisis survivor, pulls off another surprise

A 92-year-old autocrat who asked for forgiveness receives it

Mahathir Mohamad (Photo by Masayuki Terazawa)

KUALA LUMPUR -- Mahathir Mohamad has shocked his countrymen and the world at large, again. The 92-year-old has led Pakatan Harapan, or the Alliance of Hope, a coalition of opposition parties, to an upset electoral victory, delivering a blow to the ruling party led by Prime Minister Najib Razak.

But this is not the first time Mahathir has defied conventional wisdom. Perhaps some news junkies remember the 1997 Asian currency crisis, which brought Thailand, Indonesia and South Korea to their knees. Having depleted their foreign currency reserves, these countries went to the International Monetary Fund for bailouts.

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