Dr M: Tolerance the secret to our long marriage
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.