Malaysia’s PM to step down in 2010July 10th, 2008 - 8:33 pm ICT by IANS
Kuala Lumpur, July 10 (DPA) Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced Thursday that he will retire in mid-2010, news reports said. Abdullah has been fighting criticism and calls to step down following his ruling coalition’s dismal performance during the March 8 election.
He told reporters he would hand over his post as president of the ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) to his deputy, Najib Razak, “in the middle of 2010″.
Traditionally, the UMNO president becomes the prime minister of this majority-Malay nation.
Last month, the embattled premier announced he had fixed a handover date to Najib, but said it was not yet time to announce the details.
Analysts have said Abdullah’s decision to finally announce a fixed date of stepping down was an effort to help reduce the political uncertainty in the country since the general elections.
The ruling National Front coalition suffered its worst setback in 50 years during the polls, losing five states to the opposition and failing to secure a two-thirds majority in Parliament.
Many top leaders within UMNO have been calling for Abdullah, who was chosen to succeed former premier Mahathir Mohamad in 2003, to step down since the election results.
There has also been growing public discontent against his leadership, following a massive 40-percent hike in fuel prices last month and increase in the crime rate in the country.
Abdullah confirmed Thursday that he would not be leading the National Front or UMNO in the next general election, which must be called by mid-2013.
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