She may now hold the title of Malaysia’s ‘First Lady’ with the appointment of our tenth prime minister Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim, but Dato' Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail is so much more than someone’s spouse.
A Twitter user @JustinTWJ recently highlighted some of her achievements. She has played an instrumental role in Malaysian politics over the past few decades, stepping up to the place as her husband faced a stormy political career.

Although some may underestimate her as she is soft-spoken and is frequently seen in pastel outfits ––– she is a force to be reckoned with in her own right.
The 70-year-old proved to be outstanding from an early age ––– being one of the top students at the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin and even winning the MacNaughton-Jones gold medal in obstetrics and gynaecology.
She led a career as an ophthalmologist before deciding to focus on voluntary work such as being a patron of the National Cancer Council when her husband was appointed as Deputy Prime Minister in 1993.
Her husband's subsequent court cases are a source of considerable political controversy and dispute in Malaysia. He was imprisoned twice but Dr Wan Azizah’s support and love for her husband never wavered.

She has commented that the time when Anwar was sent to prison a second time was one of the darkest moments of her life, but it also made her push forward to serve her country and work towards freeing her husband.
There are many firsts to her name; she was the first female Deputy Prime Minister, the first female Leader of the Opposition, and the highest-ever female political officeholder in the history of Malaysia.
After his first prison sentence, she became the leader of the Reformasi movement, which called for social equality and social justice in Malaysia.

Together with her husband, she also formed and led the People’s Justice Party, better known as PKR.

Although Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s bitter falling out with Anwar is widely known, she campaigned for Mahathir to be re-elected again as PM with a gracious heart.

As Maria Shriver said, “Having kids — the responsibility of rearing good, kind, ethical, responsible human beings — is the biggest job anyone can embark on.” Dr Wan Azizah has done all this while first and foremost fulfilling her responsibilities as a mother to her son and five daughters including Nurul Izzah, a prominent politician.

Speaking to Bloomberg, she said “People would think I am in the shadow of Anwar, but for me, the most important thing is having the respect of those who have worked with me, whether as a physician or a politician.”

What a remarkable lady! It’s hard to imagine DSAI and Dr Wan Azizah without the other. Such couple goals!

Image credit: @drwanazizah