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ABDULLAH WILL NOT STAY AS M'SIAN PM


KUALA LUMPUR - Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today dismissed rumours he would be staying on as prime minister after March.
The prime minister rubbished speculation sparked by his predecessor Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who suggested that Abdullah would not hand over power to Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak after the March Umno polls.
"Rumours are rumours. I have been the subject of rumours before. They have thrown many rumours at me," he told reporters this evening in a press conference at Parliament House.
In a deal hammered out in October, Abdullah agreed to hand over power to Najib after the Umno general assembly.
Najib has been elected unopposed as Umno president and is expected to take the reins of power in March as long Barisan Nasional (BN) remains in power.
However, Dr Mahathir, who has been critical of Abdullah throughout the latter's administration, suggested recently that the prime minister would stay on.
Dr Mahathir's gambit appeared to be an attempt to ensure Abdullah kept his word.
Abdullah has said that he would be concentrating on introducing reforms to government in the waning days of his administration.
In the past week, Abdullah has successfully pushed through two of his major reforms by getting Parliament to pass legislation to set up the Judicial Appointments Commission and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.
Najib has also taken pains to demonstrate his commitment to the reforms when he met BN lawmakers this week to ensure their support for the reforms. He has also distanced himself from some of Dr Mahathir's more caustic remarks about government initiatives, in the face of mounting sentiment that his administration would herald the return of "Mahathirism."
Instead, he has been speaking of the need for reforms to ensure BN regains the support it lost when it lost its traditional two-thirds majority in Parliament during the previous general elections.

THE MALAYSIAN Insider
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