Tuesday, April 8, 2008

I Will Not Stay Longer Than I Should, Says Abdullah

2 signs of resignation soon? Perth is imminent.

April 07, 2008 22:23 PM

I Will Not Stay Longer Than I Should, Says Abdullah

KOTA KINABALU, April 7 (Bernama) -- Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said Monday he would not stay longer than he should as prime minister.

"I would retire one day but I could not leave in this kind of political scenario. I will retire one day, of course. I'm not going to stay longer than I should.

"But there are certain things that I like to do now. I cannot leave at a time when the party is in this condition.

I cannot leave at a time when we are preparing for the implementation of development projects. We have already promised the people. We will do it.

"I'm not going to stay on for years. Certainly not," the prime minister told reporters after meeting Sabah Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders here.

Abdullah was asked whether he had a date in mind on when he would retire after having named Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak as his successor.

The prime minister said Sunday Najib was his successor and that they had no problems between them.

On naming Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak as his successor, Abdullah said in jest: "Of course.

Are you in doubt that you have to ask me again?" "Datuk Seri Najib understands me more than you can understand me. I am not going to stay on for years. Certainly not," he added.

Abdullah also thanked Sabahans for having given the mandate to the BN in last month's general election.

"I wish to take this opportunity to extend my congratulations and thanks to everyone and the chief minister (Datuk Seri Musa Aman) for the cooperation in the BN which led to the big victory in the general election," he said.

Leaders of the eight Sabah BN component parties had expressed their appreciation to Abdullah for having listened to their views and having agreed to consider their requests made at the meeting with him.

They also expressed support for Abdullah as the BN chairman.


Malaysia's government blueprint for political succession grows clearer
The Associated Press

Published: April 7, 2008

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia: Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has endorsed his deputy as his likely successor, despite insisting that he has no plans to resign soon following an election fiasco.

Abdullah identified Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak on Sunday as his probable successor in line with the ruling party's tradition of political succession. It was the first time Abdullah has clearly identified a successor.

On Monday, Najib thanked Abdullah, saying he was "touched and grateful" for the endorsement. He made his remarks to reporters who sought his reaction, according to an aide who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to make public statements.

The comments by Malaysia's top two politicians could help ease uncertainty in the ruling United Malays National Organization party about its future leadership. Most senior officials have pledged loyalty to Abdullah, but some members are openly calling on him to step down.

Abdullah is facing much of the blame for crippling setbacks suffered by his National Front ruling coalition in March 8 general elections. The coalition, led by Abdullah's Malay party, lost its two-thirds majority in Parliament as well as control of five state legislatures.

Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has led demands for Abdullah's resignation, while a ruling party lawmaker, Razaleigh Hamzah, has indicated he will try to challenge Abdullah for the party presidency in balloting scheduled for December.

Although Najib is now the party's deputy president and would typically be considered the front-runner to succeed Abdullah, speculation has intensified that other politicians, including International Trade Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, might try to overtake him.

The president and his deputy in the ruling party traditionally also take up the top two posts in the federal government. Abdullah took office in October 2003 after being hand-picked by Mahathir, who retired after 22 years in power.

Abdullah told reporters Sunday that he had no problem with Najib being regarded as his successor, stressing that they had a good working relationship. Abdullah, 68, did not give any timeframe for when he might leave office.

"I will know when to go, but give me a chance to implement what I have promised," he said.

Abdullah is also facing a potential threat from a three-party opposition alliance, which now holds 82 of the 222 seats in Parliament. Opposition leaders have said that some National Front lawmakers might defect to their side, despite repeated denials by coalition officials.