Marina Mahathir

Datin Paduka Marina binti Tun Dr. Mahathir (born 9 June 1957)[1] (Jawi: مرينة بنت محاضر) is a Malaysian socio-political activist and writer. She is the eldest child of the 4th and 7th Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Mahathir Mohamad and Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali.[2] She graduated from the University of Sussex.

Marina Mahathir

Marina in 2008
Marina binti Mahathir

(1957-06-09) 9 June 1957
Alma materUniversity of Sussex
Occupation(s)Activist, columnist
Didier Roussille
(m. 1986; div. 1994)

Tara Sosrowardoyo
(m. 1998)
Parent(s)Mahathir Mohamad
Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali


Marina is a leader in many non-governmental organizations such as the Malaysian AIDS Foundation and is an active socio-political blogger. She also writes in her bi-weekly column called Musings in The Star newspaper since 1989.[3] Some of her pieces in the column have been published in her books such as 50 Days: Rantings by MM, published in 1997 and Telling It Straight, published in 2012 by Editions Didier Millet.[3] The latter is a selection of her articles published in her column between 2003 and 2012. It includes a foreword by Dr Farish A. Noor, a local political scientist and historian. It contains 90 articles which are written thematically including a special written introduction on the topics discussed in the book. It also includes two previously unpublished articles.[4]

She is an active campaigner for women's rights. In 2006 she has described the status of Muslim women in Malaysia as similar to that of the Black South Africans under apartheid.

Marina has called for an end to discrimination based on sexual orientations in 1998 and 1999.[5]

She had appeared in Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's Documentary released in late 2009 with the rest of the members of the Mahathir Family.

In 2010, she was awarded UN Person of The Year for her volunteer work in combatting HIV/AIDS.[6]

In 2016 Marina denounced the destruction of Malaysian culture and traditions by what she perceives as 'Arab colonialism'.[7]

In January 2018, following a viral incident of a Muslim man slapping a Muslim woman for not wearing a hijab, Marina warned that Islamization of Malaysia will tear the country apart. She referred to Islamization as "another form of colonisation, a concept that has never been known to being non-violent".[8]

Personal life

On 7 June 1998 Marina married Tara Sosrowardoyo, a renowned Indonesian photographer. They have two daughters and a son.[9][10]

Previously, she was married to Didier Roussille, a Frenchman. Marina and Didier have a daughter, Ineza Roussille.


  • 50 days : Rantings, ZI Publications Sdn. Bhd, 2009. ISBN 9789675266003
  • Hidden voices : true Malaysian experience of AIDS, as editor, with Wan Zawawi Ibrahim, Malaysian AIDS Councils, 1999. ISBN 9834019211
  • In Liberal Doses, Star Publications, 1997. ISBN 978-9839950779
  • Eyes : a photographic journey through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, with Rene Burbi and Leonard Lueras, Eyes on Asian, 1993. ISBN 0356044149
  • Telling It Straight, EDM Pte Ltd, 2012. ISBN 978-981-4385-29-9
  • The Apple and the Tree: Life as Dr Mahathir's Daughter, Penguin Books, 2021. ISBN 9789-8149-5422-8

Awards and accolades

Honours of Malaysia

Foreign honours

In 2016, Marina was conferred the Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur by the French government for “her voice and charisma to many causes”, citing her work with the Malaysian AIDS Council and with migrants as examples.[12] Marina became one of eight Malaysians to receive the award so far.[2]

See also


  1. "Liberal, Muslim, feminist, and comfortable". 4 December 2011. Retrieved 11 May 2016.
  2. "Marina Mahathir receives highest French honour for activist work". Malay Mail. March 30, 2016.
  3. Cheng, Nicholas (11 November 2012). "Marina tells it straight". Archived from the original on 21 February 2013. Retrieved 11 November 2012.
  4. "Telling It Straight - Marina Mahathir's Musings in a book". 9 November 2012. Archived from the original on 21 February 2013. Retrieved 27 November 2012.
  5. Asia-Pacific | PM's daughter slams Malaysian anti-gay group. BBC News (1998-10-23). Retrieved on 2014-01-07.
  6. "UNHCR Award".
  7. "Mahathir's daughter speaks out against 'Arab colonialism'". AsiaOne. May 24, 2015.
  8. "Islamisation will tear Malaysia apart, says Marina Mahathir". Today. 18 January 2018. Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  9. PASSAGE Archived 2011-06-15 at the Wayback Machine. Asiaweek (16 July 1999)
  10. Tara Sosrowardoyo (b. 1953, New York City).
  11. "DPMS 1999". Retrieved 5 June 2022.
  12. "Marina Mahathir 'knighted' by France for her work". Free Malaysia Today. March 31, 2016.
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