Malaysia PM to step down by June 2010
Kuala Lumpur, July 10, 2008
Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will announce plans to retire in June 2010, a move aimed at ending months of political uncertainty that have unnerved investors, a news website said on Thursday.
The embattled premier is expected to announce the handover date to his deputy Najib Razak at a party meeting on Thursday, the influential Malaysian Insider (www.themalaysianinsider.com) said without citing sources.
Abdullah laid out a timeline "because he believed that setting a date would bring some semblance of certainty to Malaysia and reduce the level of politicking which has upset many Malaysians and foreign investors", the website report said.
The Malaysian Insider website is run by several individuals, including an ex-journalist, known to be close to Abdullah.
The policy-making body of Abdullah's ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) party is scheduled to hold a regular meeting at 0700 GMT on Thursday. A spokesman from the prime minister's office said he was unaware of any timetable for the premier to step down.
De facto opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim declined to comment on the report.
Abdullah has been under pressure to quit since the ruling coalition suffered its worst electoral setback in 50 years in a March poll. Growing discontent against his leadership, street protests against a fuel price hike and allegations of sex and murder in the government and opposition have rattled investors.
A resurgent opposition, led by Anwar, has been snapping at Abdullah's heels with claims that it has won enough support to form a new government by September.
The Malaysian stock market has lost more than four percent in the past week roiled by the events in the political arena. By 0246 GMT on Thursday, it was down 0.3 percent at 1,135.98 points. - Reuters