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PM Tun Dr Mahathir's Greatest Style Choices

21 May 2018 | Ben Sim

Malaysia’s new Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is known for many things - his political prowess, his leadership and his wisdom, but never would we think he would be touted as a fashion icon.

Recently an Instagram user shared a screenshot of him sporting RM12 Bata sandals! Needless to say, it went viral:

Not to be missed, Bata jumped on it and promoted their now-famous Prime Minister sandals, proclaiming it as the “hottest selling accessory” this Ramadan.

In the spirit of continuing his fashion legacy, let’s go through some of his greatest style choices in his career.

Suit Up To Show Up

Even at age 93, Tun Dr M still has it going. During his tenure as Prime Minister in the 80’s and 90’s, he can be seen dressing western style white shirt, tie and suit.


His favourite tailor? For years, Tun Dr Mahathir has been very public about it and it’s Bangsar-based Lord’s Tailor.

Fun fact: Tun Dr Mahathir historically has a 34 inch waist a 36 inch waist 2004 when retired as PM.

Looking Fresh in Traditional Clothes

When Tun Dr Mahathir isn’t in corporate suits, he can be see sporting traditional malay clothing baju melayu, trousers, samping, songkok.


According to a source, Tun Dr Mahathir wears StyleTun songkoks. The StyleTun songkok is about 10 cm high and the inside is covered with soft cloth instead of plastic.

And let’s not forget probably the most famous (and reproduced) photograph of Tun Dr Mahathir, found in every government office during the 80’s and 90’s. Here the 4th Prime Minister of Malaysia is seen in his songkok and navy blue baju melayu.


Tun M’s Signature Jacket

When Tun Dr Mahathir isn’t seen attending formal events, he can seen chilling and kickin’ it in semi-traditional clothes like his signature Nehru jacket.


The Nehru jacket is a tailored coat with a mandarin collar, and with its front modelled on the Indian achkan or sherwani. The jacket is named Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India.

The Doctor’s Other Signature Jacket

At times when the Nehru jacket may seem dull or when Tun Dr Mahathir needs something more practical to visit villages, he can be seen wearing bush jackets.


Also known as a safari jacket, it was originally designed for those going into the safari in the African bush.


The Accessory That is Greater than a Sword

Any James Bond aficionado would say that every man need a good watch and a good pen.

No matter where Tun Dr Mahathir is seen, there is usually a pen near him… and it’s not a fancy one either!

His favourite pen that he’s seen using for years? The RM4 Pilot Ball Liner.


Here is our PM himself seen with his pen:



Tun Dr Mahathir once said, "the pen is mightier than the sword".

Fun fact: Tun Dr Mahathir used to write for The Straits Times when he was in college.

He even used it to sign the historic papers on 10 May 2018, the day he was sworn in as the 7th Prime Minister of Malaysia!

Via TV2 / Astro Awani


When Tun M was sworn in as Prime Minister, we all can’t help but get the feels that one of the “old guards” of Asia is back in action.

And looking at his style choices, it’s obvious that Tun M goes for practicality above all else, from the bush jacket to his favourite Pilot pen to his now-viral Bata sandals.

With practicality as the main driver for his style, it’s no surprise that his frugal choices such as RM12 sandals or RM4 pens have captured the imagination of young Malaysians to find him a fascinating figure in what he chooses to wear, despite his status.

We all can take a page from his (leadership) style book.

Hero image courtesy of

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