Malaysia PM to keep promise to retire in 2010

Analysts say should the premier survive the challenges he faces, he could stay on until after mid-2010 as Najib's rise to power is not seen as a done deal.

Malaysia PM to keep promise to retire in 2010
Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said he will keep his promise to retire in 2010, and not extend his term beyond that, official Bernama news agency reported.

Abdullah had said on Thursday he would hand over the reins to his deputy Najib Razak in June 2010, hoping to silence calls for him to quit after his government's disastrous showing in March polls.

"I won't go to Najib and tell him "They like me now, can you allow me to stay on for another one year?" the premier was quoted as saying in a Bernama interview late on Saturday.

"If anything were to happen (such as an economic crisis), he (Najib) will have to settle that."

Some analysts say Abdullah may find it hard to hold on for another two years, due to public discontent over the rising cost of living, a series of political scandals dogging his party and a revitalised opposition snapping at his government's heels.

The ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, which has led Malaysia since independence from British rule in 1957, is facing its worst crisis in 50 years.

On Saturday, Malaysian police said they were preparing for a mass gathering outside parliament on Monday called by the opposition, which wants a parliamentary debate on a motion of no-confidence in the government.

Analysts say should the premier survive the challenges he faces, he could stay on until after mid-2010 as Najib's rise to power is not seen as a done deal.

Political observers say the deputy premier could stumble in his quest to take over from Abdullah, with several members of the dominant United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) party also eyeing the party presidency, which by convention, also carries the country's premiership post.

Najib has had to fight allegations that he was linked to a sex and murder scandal involving a Mongolian model.

Reuters
Last Mod: 13 Temmuz 2008, 12:40
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