MALAYSIA — Malaysia’s former Prime Minister, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, also known as ‘Pak Lah’, has experienced a deterioration in his condition since being diagnosed with dementia.
“Please pray for Pak Lah,” said the son-in-law of Pak Lah, Khairy Jamaluddin, in a podcast where he responded to an audience member’s question about the well-being of the country’s fifth Prime Minister.
Although Pak Lah is wheelchair-bound, Khairy said that his body is healthy. However, his dementia has reached an advanced stage, resulting in severe memory loss and limited conversation ability.
“In terms of the function of the mind, he has experienced deterioration, or rather, it has reached an advanced stage,” Khairy explained.
He also shared that when he was serving as Minister of Health, he discussed the issue with his wife and brother-in-law, as he had given a speech about dementia, and many people were unaware that Pak Lah was suffering from the condition.
“It is important for us to shine a light on dementia and cognitive problems in our country, including Alzheimer’s and so on,” he said.
In September last year, Mr Khairy revealed to the public that his father-in-law suffers from dementia in a tweet and explained why Pak Lah had not been seen in public.
He said that Pak Lah began to show signs of cognitive impairment since 2009 after he retired as Prime Minister.
Pak Lah suffers from dementia.
It has been challenging for us to see the deterioration in his cognitive function. Some people are aware but many are not. The family has decided to openly share this partly to shine a light on dementia & cognitive impairment. https://t.co/BHav9buseb
— Khairy Jamaluddin 🇲🇾🌺 (@Khairykj) September 11, 2022
Malaysia’s fifth PM from 2003 to 2009
Born in 1939 in Bayan Lepas, Penang, Tun Abdullah was the son of a religious scholar and a teacher. Pak Lah joined the government in 1964 as a civil servant, serving in various capacities before becoming a Member of Parliament for Kepala Batas in 1978.
Pak Lah served as the Deputy Prime Minister under Dr. Mahathir Mohamad’s administration in 1999.
In 2003, he became Malaysia’s fifth Prime Minister, a position he held until 2009.
During his tenure, Pak Lah concentrated on economic and social reforms. He spearheaded the development of the Ninth Malaysia Plan, which aimed to transform Malaysia into a developed country by 2020.
His popularity decreased due to rising inflation, economic stagnation, and allegations of corruption within his administration.
In the 2008 general election, Pak Lah’s ruling coalition, Barisan National, lost its two-thirds majority in parliament for the first time in 40 years.
Following the election, Pak Lah announced that he would not seek re-election as party leader and resigned as Prime Minister in April 2009.