INTRODUCTION: The coming to power in mid-July of Malaysia's new Prime Minister, Dr.
SV Delegates at Umno party meeting
SV Umno president-elect Dr. Mahathir arrives on official platform
SV Women delegates seated
SV Dr. Mahathir seated at official table (2 shots)
SV Umno outgoing president Datuk Hussein Onn taking applause from platform and sitting down
SV Datuk Hussein Onn speaking from platform (3 shots)
GV Photographers milling around platform
SV & SCU Delegates casting votes in ballot boxes (3 shots)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: The coming to power in mid-July of Malaysia's new Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, heralds the beginning of a new political era in the richest, most stable, of South-East Asia's larger countries. As one of the new breed of post-independence Malay politicians, Dr. Mahathir's leadership is expected to provide much contrast to that of retiring Prime Minister Datuk Hussein Onn, who is stepping down because of poor health.
SYNOPSIS: A meeting of the ruling United Malays National Organisation (Umno) party at Kuala Lumpur on Friday (26 June) confirmed 55 year-old Dr. Mahathir as the new party leader. He represents the generation of independence, is proud to be Malay, and will be the first Prime Minister educated locally, rather than in England.
While Dr. Mahathir has the reputation for being a Malay ultra-nationalist, and sometimes quick-tempered, outgoing Prime Minister Datuk Hussein Onn is known as a shy, retiring gentleman, and the epitome of fairness and rectitude. His quiet, even-tempered manner may have had some influence on Dr. Mahathir as many believe the younger man has gained new strength, and smoothed off rough edges during his period as Datuk Hussein's deputy Prime Minister. Dr. Mahathir is among a new breed of leaders in the ruling Umno party who came to prominence as a result of racial riots in Malaysia in 1969. The riots were a catalyst for the government's subsequent policies, most notably its promotion of the economic interests of the Malay population, which felt it was being exploited by an enterprising Chinese minority. Those contesting the top Umno party positions realise it is important to please the Malays, who make up half the country's 14 million population.