Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad has been sworn in as the new Health Minister for Malaysia under Tun Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad’s new government.

Dr Dzulkefly – who completed his doctorate in toxicology at Imperial College London in the early 1990s – is a member of Parti Amanah Negara (National Trust Party) a centre-left party which advocates political Islam.

He previously held the position of Member of Parliament from 2008 to 2013 for the town of Kuala Sengor. The politician is known for his decision to support a controversial ruling of the Malaysian High Court allowing a weekly Christian publication called Herrald to use the term “Allah”.

Dr Ahmad stated to Malaysian Press: “To me, I see this as an opportunity to bring all of us closer together despite our religious differences and submit to the God Almighty. We all believe in God and we call God Allah.”

“Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad completed his doctorate in toxicology at Imperial in the early 1990s”

He joins the newly elected Tun Dr Mahathir for his second non-consecutive term, following the ousting of the then-ruling Barisan Nasional party in the 2018 general elections, which saw his former ally, Najib Razak stepping down from the position of Prime Minister. Barisan National and its predecessor Alliance party have held onto power for over half a century, one of the longest streaks for a political party in modern history.

The loss of the government has been seen as a direct consequence of the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal. Set up as a development fund for the capital Kuala Lumpur, 1MDB was misused for personal profit, with Najib being accused of receiving $700m dollars from the same fund. The former Prime Minister is also accused of involvement in the murder of Shaariibuu Altantuya in 2015, a Mongolian model who was a mistress of a close associate of Najib. She was killed either by gunshot or a subsequent C-4 explosion. Two ex-police officers were sentenced to death for the murder.

Felix spoke to Imperial College Union Malaysian Society, who said: “We are proud of Dr Ahmad, an Imperial alumnus who has been appointed as the new Health Minister of Malaysia after the recent historical election. We would like to wish him all the best in executing his tasks and the best of health!”