(The Sun) - Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has been named as recipient of the 2012 Rafik Hariri UN-Habitat Memorial Award as a recognition of his leadership, statesmanship and good governance.
He was selected out of 13 other nominations from Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, United States, Canada, El Salvador, Nicaragua, India, Bangladesh, UK, Japan and the Philippines by the award steering committee on June 29.
He will be honoured in an award ceremony in New York on Sept 28.
"The per capita income in Malaysia during his time increased eight times. The model of thinking to get out of problems and crisis was almost the same as that of prime minister Rafik Hariri," said International Jury chairman Mervat Tallawy in a press statement on the UN-Habitat website.
The statement noted that during Mahathir's time in office, Malaysia underwent rapid modernisation and economic progress. He was a dominant political figure and won five consecutive general elections, and remains politically active after retirement.
"Malaysia was on the way to considerable economic progress during Mahathir's time. It is recognised that he significantly influenced other developing countries to show how it is possible to develop rapidly in a very short time," said UN-Habitat scientific adviser Professor Banji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka.
The Rafik Hariri UN-Habitat Memorial Award was jointly established with the Rafik Hariri Foundation and UN-Habitat in March 2009 in memory of the late Lebanese prime minister.
It is given to individuals, organisations or institutions anywhere in the world for significant accomplishments in the areas of: leadership, statesmanship and good governance, construction and benevolent activities in fighting urban poverty, and the implementation of the Habitat Agenda.
The award is presented biennially and the prize consists of a cash award of US$200,000, a trophy and a certificate.
The previous winner of the award was Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.