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Abdullah sworn in for new 5-year term


March 11, 2008

Abdullah sworn in for new 5-year term

Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on Monday was sworn in for a new five-year term at the helm despite having led the ruling coalition in its worst election showing in nearly 40 years, a Kyodo news report said.

In Saturday's general election, Abdullah's National Front coalition won with only a simple majority in Parliament, having previously held 90 percent of the seats.

In a related report from Reuters, the ruling coalition tried to regroup on Monday after a shocking electoral setback that decimated its ranks and sent markets swooning over the political uncertainties ahead.

Abdullah reportedly received a much-needed vote of support from his United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) to stay on as both party president and prime minister at a special meeting of the party on Monday, despite calls from his predecessor Mahathir Mohamad to quit.

However, the prime minister has an enormous task ahead in holding together his battered coalition and filling holes in his Cabinet - four ministers lost seats in the weekend election, including Works Minister Samy Vellu, the head of the main Indian party in the coalition.

Abdullah had cancelled plans to attend next week's Organisation of the Islamic Conference summit in Senegal - he was to hand over chairmanship of the 57-member grouping - to deal with the crisis at home, Reuters quoted sources close to the prime minister as saying.

A key partner in the multi-racial coalition, the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA), dismissed speculation the party might pull out of the coalition that has ruled Malaysia uninterrupted since independence from Britain in 1957, and the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) was expected to follow suit.

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