Dr M: Tol­er­ance the se­cret to our long mar­riage

The Star Malaysia - - Nation -

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Min­is­ter Tun Dr Ma­hathir Mo­hamad, the old­est elected leader in the world, has spilled the beans on his se­cret to be­ing hap­pily mar­ried to his soul mate Tun Dr Siti Has­mah Mohd Ali, for the past 62 years.

The premier said tol­er­ance, as well as the need to con­sider the feel­ings and fu­ture of the chil­dren, was the most im­por­tant fac­tor to their re­la­tion­ship.

Dur­ing an in­ter­view with The Third Age Me­dia As­so­ci­a­tion and Ber­nama News Chan­nel at Per­dana Lead­er­ship Foun­da­tion, Dr Ma­hathir said no one would be able to change their part­ner, hence the need for tol­er­ance as the way to have a healthy and bal­anced re­la­tion­ship.

With a smile on his face, he re­it­er­ated his ear­lier years of be­ing with Dr Siti Has­mah, the back­bone to his suc­cess.

“Well, my wife al­ways said that be­hind ev­ery suc­cess­ful man, there is a wife, not just a woman. She ob­jects to that,” he said.

“At first of course, when we were young, we have dif­fer­ences, ten­sions and all that.

“But as you grow older you re­alise that you can­not change your part­ner very much and she can­not change me very much and we learn to ac­cept that this is what the per­son is like.”

He said that as he spent most of his time in pol­i­tics, Dr Siti Has­mah had ac­com­pa­nied him on most oc­ca­sions even though she was not in­volved in pol­i­tics.

“And if I have to leave her be­cause I have some work, she tol­er­ates that. On the other hand I will tol­er­ate her ... I think there is a need to be tol­er­ant,” he said.

Dr Ma­hathir, 93, also stressed that there was a need to con­sider the feel­ings of chil­dren as it would be a dis­as­ter for the fam­ily when par­ents break up and re-marry.

“The chil­dren will never have a good life. So you need to show con­cern for your chil­dren,” he said.

The cou­ple met at the King Ed­ward VII Col­lege of Medicine in Sin­ga­pore ( now part of Na­tional Univer­sity of Sin­ga­pore) in 1947 and got mar­ried in 1956.

Dr Ma­hathir’s first ten­ure as Prime Min­is­ter was from 1981 to 2003, be­com­ing Malaysia’s long­est-serv­ing Prime Min­is­ter, be­fore mak­ing a come­back af­ter the gen­eral elec­tion in May.

Solid as a rock: Dr Ma­hathir and Dr Siti Has­mah were all smiles at Dataran Sadi­man, Bukit Chang­gang in Sepang.

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