Malaysia's Mahathir in stable condition-son

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KUALA LUMPUR, Sep 16 (Reuters) Former Malaysian premier Mahathir Mohamad is in a stable condition after being moved back into intensive care for checks by doctors, his son Mokhzani Mahathir said today.

The 82-year-old Mahathir, Malaysia's longest-serving premier, underwent heart bypass surgery on Sept 4. This was his second such operation since 1989 and followed two heart attacks over the past 10 months.

The hospital treating Mahathir said yesterday he had been moved back into intensive care to facilitate checks by doctors.

State news agency Bernama quoted Mahathir's daughter, Marina, as saying the former premier was transferred back to intensive care as a precautionary measure to prevent any infection.

''The doctors say Tun (Mahathir) will remain longer in the ICU due to the need to prevent any infection,'' Marina said.

Only close relatives were allowed to call on Mahathir so as to reduce the risk of infection, she added.

Mahathir ruled for 22 years before retiring in late 2003 and remains an influential political figure, even though he has fallen out with his successor, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, over policy changes made since his retirement.

REUTERS SYU PM1616

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