The new retirement age is 95, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said in jest on Sunday, drawing laughter from guests at a high-tea gathering of Malaysians residing in the United Kingdom.
“I hope to last until my retirement,” said the statesman who returned to the office of prime minister in May, at 93. Dr Mahathir was the prime minister for the first time from 1981 to 2003.
Speaking to guests on the second leg of his visit to the United Kingdom after addressing the 73rd United Nations General Assembly in New York, Dr Mahathir said he hopes to be able to solve many of the problems plaguing Malaysia – but added that he “won’t be here for long.”
When asked if his wife, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, had approved of his putting off his retirement, Dr Mahathir said she had no choice.
“She is very supportive. She goes wherever I go,” he said to applause from the guests.
Siti Hasmah was also present at the event, which was attended by about 500 Malaysians.
Dr Mahathir was sworn in as the world’s oldest elected leader after leading the Pakatan Harapan coalition to a stunning general election victory in May.
Citing the “leadership by example” slogan, Dr Mahathir said he had to set the example of working hard.
“Diseases will kill you, work will not kill you. You must not only exercise the muscles of the body but also exercise your brain,” he added.