Malay PM to discuss power transition with Razak

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Singapore, Apr 12: Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will discuss with his deputy, Mohd Najib Razak, the transition of power to the latter, but insists that he will stay on as the ruling party leader of United Malays National Organisation (UMNO).

Mr Abdullah has also accepted blame for BN's worst performance in the March 8 general election, when the ruling coalition failed to retained two-third majority having lost 82 partliamentary seats out of the 222 contestd to a fragmented opposition, according to Malaysian media reports.

Mr Abdullah has come under tremendous pressure from UMNO leaders to step down and take the blame for BN's performance in the election, having also lost five states to the opposition made of Parti Malaysia Se Islam (PAS), Democratic Action Party (DAP) and Parti Kedilan Rakyat (PKR), the three of which has recently formed a coaltion Pakatan Rakyat or People's Alliance as an alternative to the five-decade old BN.

PKR de facto leader and the former ruling party's deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has claimed that 30 BN members of parliament are ready to cross over and join the opposition group.

Mr Abdullah is under increasing pressure to step down from UMNO leaders in the five states Penang, Perak, Kedah, Kelantan and Selangor -- being ruled by the PAS, DAP and PKR.

But UMNO officials said the call for Mr Abdullah to resign will be handled internally by the pre-dominantly Malay Muslim party, the influencing component of BN.

Former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has been most vociferous against Mr Abdullah, who he had handpicked to succeed him five years ago. Political observers expect Mr Abdullah to make a major move on his political career at the UMNO annual general assembly within the next few months.

The observers said it would be a major political shake up if Mr Abdullah hand over the premiership to his deputy Nazib, who is son of the former Prime Minister, the late Mr Abdul Razak.

The UMNO led BN would also have to be restructured though it has been managing Malaysian politics on racial and religious lines the Budhist and Christian Chinese through the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) and the Hindu and other religion ethnic Indians under the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC).

UMNO has been pre-dominantly Muslim party managing the Malay community against the influencing of the fundamentalist PAS.

Though the BN had a number of other provincial parties as its components, the main pillars were UMNO, MCA and MIC, all three of which have failed to win support from the 8 March 2008 general elections from the average man on the street.

UNI

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