Malaysian leader Mahathir Mohamad has become the world’s oldest head of state. How does he compare to other Asian leaders?
Although the world has seen old elected leaders, agism has always been a rallying point for politicians. During the campaign for US election there were lot of references to Trump’s age making him unfit to hold the highest position.
While the opposition did refer to age as a factor in making him unsuitable for the position, Malaysians elected the oldest leader in history to head the country. Mahathir Mohamad aged 92 is 21 years older than US President Donald Trump and twice the age of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Experience in politics seems to be a key deciding factor for Asians to elect leaders thus most of the leaders are on the higher side of the age spectrum. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte at 73 years of age, is the most controversial president of the country. He has been attracting lot of criticism owing to his undiplomatic remarks and his war on drugs. Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith is 72 years of age. He has been in power since 2016 and has held significant political positions before being the prime minister of Laos.
Sheikh Hasina, 70 is the prime minister of Bangladesh. Her father led the liberation war of Bangladesh and continuing his legacy she has stood firmly against two military regimes. She is one of the 100 influential people on the list of Time magazine. While she has received lot of recognition for accepting Rohingya refugees, she has also faced criticism within her country for mauling dissent.
Ranil Wickremesinghe was the youngest cabinet minister in Sri Lanka. At age 69 he is the tenth prime minister of the country.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (67) is the star attraction. He is considered as one of the most famous political leaders that the country has seen. Although the minority rights violation has increased under his rule, his popularity seems anything but diminishing.
At 66 the leaders of South Korea, Myanmar, Nepal and Singapore are the same age.
Cambodian PM (65) Hun Sen has been in power since 1985 and is one of the longest serving Prime Ministers in the world. While he has been responsible for pulling the country out of the devastation caused by Khmer Rouge, he is also seen as a very authoritarian leader with a poor human rights record.
Xi Jingping (64), the leader of the ruling Chinese Communist Party has been one of the most influential leaders of the country with his name mentioned in the constitution, an honour reserved for after Mao Zedong until now.
Hailing from a political family Shinzo Abe (63) is on the fourth term of being Japan’s highest leader. Under his leadership and economic policies known as “Abenomics”, Japan managed to pump billions of dollars into its economic growth. The controversial Thai army chief Prayut Chan-o-cha (64) became the prime minister after the dramatic coup after which the country did not see elections.
While Brunei Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah (51) is youngest in age, Bhutan PM Tshering Tobgay (52) is the youngest elected leader in the region. The Harvard educated leader is the second elected prime minister of the country.