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Malaysia’s PM vows to quit after March polls

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November 1, 2008

Malaysia’s PM vows to quit after March polls
Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on Friday vowed to step down "a few days" after the ruling party's gathering ends in late March next year, reported AFP.

Abdullah, President of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), which leads the coalition, has said that he will hand over power to Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is the party's deputy president.

"Surely not on the very day (of the polls). Give us a few days to sort it out and do it properly," he told reporters after a meeting with top party leaders.

Najib is contesting the top post of party president in the March 26 polls and is expected to win unopposed.

The president of UMNO, which has ruled Malaysia for more than half a century, traditionally becomes prime minister of the country.

Hishammudin Hussein, chief of the party's influential youth wing, backed the transition of power.

"We feel we are in good hands. (Najib) is in the position to take over (and) has the support and confidence of party members," he told reporters.

Abdullah, 68, has been under intense pressure to quit since leading the Barisan Nasional coalition to its worst polls performance in half a century, losing a third of parliamentary seats and five states to the opposition.

He had planned to hand over to Najib in mid-2010 but was forced to review his departure date as he lost support from the ruling party's grassroots.

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