KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 12 – Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will clock out from his office in Putrajaya on March 31, a Tuesday, as prime minister, ending a tumultuous period which saw him lead Umno and Barisan Nasional to their best-ever and worst electoral performances.
He will leave office as planned, despite some speculation that he may choose to stay on.
On the day Abdullah clocks out, Datuk Seri Najib Razak will immediately take over as prime minister.
The next day, Wednesday, April 1, Najib will chair his first Cabinet meeting as prime minister.
It will mark the first time in the country’s history that a man whose father was also prime minister also makes it to assume the post. Najib’s father Tun Abdul Razak Hussein was Malaysia’s second prime minister.
“Pak Lah will stand down three days after the end of the Umno general assembly, and hand over the reins to Najib,” a source told The Malaysian Insider.
Abdullah and Najib hammered out a deal last year for the smooth transfer of power.
Abdullah will retire as Umno president at the party’s general assembly next month. At the same meeting Najib will be officially elected unopposed as the new party president.
“Pak Lah never entertained the idea of going back on his word once he accepted it was the wish of Umno members for leadership change,” the source said.
After leading BN to last year’s dismal electoral performance, Abdullah immediately came under serious pressure to quit.
Eventually, the collective push came from senior Umno leaders like Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz and former party president Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Umno leaders are now hoping for Najib to provide stronger leadership to unite the party in the face of a stronger challenge from the Pakatan Rakyat.
Source : Malaysian Insider