Blood transfusion? Special diet? What's the secret to Mahathir's longevity?

Mahathir's fountain of youth.

Faris Alfiq | July 22, 2021, 12:38 PM

Malaysia's former two-time prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, celebrated his 96th birthday on July 10.

He has outlived many other world leaders and contemporaries, periodically passing headline-making comments and still lucid enough to generate quotable quotes.

In 2018, at the age of 92, he was named as the oldest prime minister in the world.

At 96, he is still active in the political scene, having just founded a new political party, Pejuang, which was finally registered on July 8, as reported by Malaysiakini.

The nonagenarian has a lot of energy to boot, and appears not to be slowing down anytime soon.

So, why hasn't Mahathir slowed down?

Over the years, there have been many ideas put forth. Here are some of them.

Falsified birth certificate

Is Mahathir really 96 years old? Was his birth certificate falsified?

Well, yes and no.

Mahathir's birth certificate showed that he was born on Dec. 20, 1925.

However, in his biography Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times, the author, Barry Wain, noted that Mahathir's father, Mohamad Iskandar, was "obsessed with education" to the point that he falsified his sons' birth certificates so that they were able to enrol in their first year of school without delay.

Mahathir only discovered later that his birth certificate was falsified and that he was born five months earlier.

Wain added that Mahathir's father would choose a random date in December for all his sons and would record their actual birth dates on a dictionary.

So, yes, Mahathir is indeed 96 years old even if his birth certificate was falsified.

Blood transfusion

Another popular theory that has kept the internet abuzz is that Mahathir uses blood transfusion therapy as his fountain of youth.

This can be seen in forums such as this:

However, urban legends of blood transfusion as a source for long life among political leaders is not something new.

The Guardian reported that there were rumours surrounding former North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-Il, injecting himself with young virgin blood to reverse ageing (which apparently has some sort of scientific reasoning behind it).

In the case of Mahathir, he was asked by reporters in the 90s on his vitality, including a yearly pilgrimage to Switzerland for blood transfusion.

His response?

A chuckle.

He continued by saying "Pharmaton", which is a brand of Vitamin C capsules.

Self-discipline, proper eating habits

Looking at past published records, Mahathir has spilled his secrets to living longer.

In a column he wrote on the New Straits Times in 2019, the former prime minister, who had a heart attack in 1989, revealed his tips and secrets to staying healthy and being able to function despite his old age.

The "recipe" includes having good eating habits, maintaining a good posture, reading the news daily to keep the mind active, and also staying physically active.

On another account, Free Malaysia Today reported that Mahathir does some "minor exercises", and makes sure that his weight remains stable.

“I’ve been 62kg for the past 30 or 40 years, it doesn’t change," the report quoted him as saying.

Mahathir was also photographed eating a palmful of rice as cutting down on carbs keeps his weight down.

Maybe there is no conspiracy on his vitality after all.

It is just healthy living and good habits.

Top image by Shafiq Hashim/NurPhoto via Getty Images