Thursday, April 26, 2007

Pak Lah supposed to serve one term only: Mahathir

From: Agence France Presse (AFP)

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has attacked his successor and urged him to quit at the next election to make way for a man more than 10 years his junior.

Dr Mahathir told journalists that Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was only meant to serve one term, according to news website

He said he had expected Abdullah, 67, to hand over to the younger Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who is 53 and currently Deputy PM, but the switch seemed to be in doubt.

"There was no agreement, but I expected him to serve one term. Now it seems he wants three terms," Mahathir was quoted as saying.

The former premier voluntarily stepped down in October 2003, handing the reins to Abdullah, who was elected in a landslide general election the following year.

Speaking at a lunch with reporters, Mahathir said he had chosen Abdullah to take over because of his "Mr Clean" anti-corruption image, the website said.

But the ex-Premier also said Najib, then a Vice President with the ruling United Malays National Organisation (Umno), is more popular with the party and should take over.

"Najib was more popular, he was Vice-President. It would be unfair for him," said Mahathir, who has attacked Abdullah's administration for months, levelling accusations of economic mismanagement, nepotism and corruption.

Abdullah has repeatedly denied the charges.

Malaysia's next general election is due in 2009 but there is widespread speculation that Abdullah will hold a poll before then.

The PM last week refuted reports that he would soon resign.

"All these rumours that I am going to resign in July, who is saying this?

Some have said I am a one-term Prime Minister. We will see about that," he told the New Straits Times on Thursday. - AFP