Sep 10, 2008

Muhyiddin says PM Abdullah should hand over power earlier

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should transfer power to his deputy Najib Abdul Razak before the agreed 2010 deadline, International Trade and Industry Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said today.

According to a Reuters news report, the Umno vice-president said this would give the Barisan Nasional ruling coalition time to prepare for the next general election.

(SINGAPORE) Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should re-think his 2010 time frame to hand over the premiership to his successor, according to Malaysian Minister for International Trade and Industries, Mr Muhyiddin Yassin.

The minister was speaking to the media after addressing the Forbes Global CEO Conference in Singapore on Wednesday.

In his update on Malaysia's political and economic situation, Mr Muhyiddin emphasised that the investment climate in his country remains strong, despite changes in the political landscape.

He also dismissed de facto opposition leader Mr Anwar Ibrahim's plan to seize power by September 16.

"I, from the very beginning, do not believe this would happen because being in the party for many years, I do not see any trend of exodus," he said.

When asked about PM Abdullah's leadership transition plans, Mr Muhyiddin said the handover of power in 2010 is just a bit too long. He said prime minister's successor would need more time to prepare the party for the next general elections.

He said: "I even mentioned to Datuk Seri Najib, would you want to wait that length of time when you have to manage the party and lead it to the next election. Would you be sure you can win?"

On Dr Mahathir Mohamad's plans to rejoin UMNO, Mr Muhyiddin, who is one of UMNO's three vice presidents, said this is welcomed by several party leaders who look up to the former prime minister.

"That will definitely put many people in high spirits in the sense that his views are much sought after. He is still very critical of matters very close to his heart, not just Malay politics and the Barisan Nasional, and he could still contribute and that would, of course, give a lot of guidance to people," Mr Muhyiddin added.

On a separate note, the minister denied talk that he could be teaming up with Kelantan prince, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, to mount a challenge for the top UMNO leadership posts during the party elections in December.

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