Mahathir was born on December 20, 1925, in Alor Star, the capital of the northern state of Kedah. His father was a school teacher of Indian origin, specifically Malayalee (people who speak Malayalam, not to be confused with Malay), having migrated from the southern state of Kerala, India, while his mother was a Malay.
Despite being only half Malay and having acknowledged his Indian heritage, Mahathir generally considers himself to be Malay, and is known for the use of fiery rhetoric designed to invoke feelings of Malay nationalism, most recently using the term Ketuanan Melayu, or "Malay Supremacy/Lordship" to argue that the Malays were losing out to the minority Chinese and Indian races after the Barisan Nasional coalition's relatively poor showing in Malaysia's 12th general election.
Dr M's political involvement is filled with events and significance where he started being active in 1945. He joined the Umno (United Malays National Organization) in 1946.
He was first elected into the Parliament in the 1964 general elections via the Kota Setar Selatan seat more than 60% majority votes. The following elections (1969)saw him losing the seat by 989 votes after declaring that he did not need to win through Chinese votes. After the riots that took place in 13 May 1969, Dr M publicly criticized the Prime Minister then Tunku Abdul Rahman, for favouring the Chinese in handling his government which led to the riots. For doing that, he was expelled from Umno.
Some of the more controversial happenings under his leadership include removing of the veto power and the royal immunity from prosecution. Before he took on this action, passing of any bill of law required royal consent but with what he took on, royal assent is considered legal after a 30 days period.
He was also known to be responsible for the removal of Tun Salleh Abas, the Lord President of the Supreme Court together with 3 other supreme court justices prior to the investigation of misconduct hearing of Umno, the party that he is also the president.
Mahathir has announced that he has resigned from UMNO, the backbone of the ruling party, the Barisan National on 19 May 2008 which coincides with the Wesak Day celebration. This decision has sent the politic scenario in Malaysia to wilderness.