Najeeb Razzak and Mahathir Mohammad (right) Image Credit: REUTERS

Najeeb Razak

The son of Malaysia’s second prime minister, Najeeb Razak is a politician through and through.

He became a Member of Parliament at the age of 23, when he ran for the seat left vacant by his father’s death. By 25, he was already a deputy minister and member of then-Prime Minister Mahathir’s cabinet.

By 2008 Najeeb, with the backing of his party and luminaries such as Mahathir, had been appointed Prime Minister.

Najeeb’s nine-year tenure has been wracked by corruption allegations. He is facing serious corruption allegations in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal, where an estimated $700 million (Dh2.6 billion) had been siphoned into his private bank accounts.

The 64-year-old has been Malaysia’s prime minister since 2009 and president of UMNO, which forms the largest constituent in the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition.

Mahathir Mohammad

Malaysia’s former strongman leader ruled the country for 22 years before retiring in 2003, and is now returning to the political fray in an attempt to oust the Prime Minister.

The 92-year-old’s antipathy to Najeeb is so fierce, he has allied himself to the opposition and partnered with people who’ve been his sworn enemies for much of his political life.

Chief among them is Anwar Ebrahim, the deputy prime minister Mahathir once imprisoned for corruption and sodomy. The de facto opposition leader Ebrahim gave his blessing for Mahathir to stand as the prime ministerial candidate for the opposition, with Ebrahim’s wife Wan Azizah as Mahathir’s running mate.

He had previously been a key part of the country’s ruling UMNO party, but in 2016 left the party after saying he was “embarrassed” by its association with Razak.

— Compiled from agencies