Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has been given 48 hours by his doctors to regain consciousness following his second coronary bypass surgery yesterday. He is still in a critical stage after undergoing the five-hour surgery at the National Heart Institute (IJN) in Kuala Lumpur yesterday morning. His son Mukhriz was quoted by Bernama today as saying that the attention was now on the second phase (post-surgery) for 81-year-old Mahathir's recovery. He added that the family hoped this stage would go smoothly and safely. "This recovery phase is a ‘lifeline’ for dad, because anything can happen during this time. So we need to pray harder and give special care and attention for him to pass this second test,” said Mukhriz, who is Mahathir’s fifth child. "The doctors said my father's situation is stable and that his heartbeat and pulse are normal,” he added. Bernama quoted him as saying that the family was hoping for Mahathir to regain consciousness any time, and that they will keep the media informed of developments from time to time. Yesterday IJN said in a statement that Mahathir had been transferred to the intensive care unit for observation, and would be kept sedated overnight. "The next 48 hours is the crucial period in his post-operative care," the statement said. Family members were to spend the night at the hospital. Thanking all well-wishers Mukhriz, 43, also said that his mother Dr Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali was very thankful to all Malaysians for their prayers and well wishes that this surgery would go smoothly. He added that the former first lady was deeply touched by the SMS messages and e-mails of support the family received from Malaysians of all walks of life. "She was so delighted when I showed her the SMSes and e-mails,” he said. “Our family is very thankful to everyone for their concern," he added. Mukhriz also said that no visitors are allowed to visit Mahathir now as he needed a lot of rest and had to be monitored closely. Mahathir underwent his first coronary bypass operation on Jan 24, 1989 at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital. Mahathir, who ruled Malaysia for more than two decades, was admitted to the IJN for elective surgery on Sunday after suffering two heart attacks in the past year. He last appeared in public on Friday, waving the Malaysian flag as part of the country's celebrations marking 50 years since independence from Britain. Mahathir led Malaysia for 22 years before handing power to the current premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in 2003.