Sat, Jun 14, 2008 - Page 1 News List

Malaysian leader says deal reached with deputy

AFP , KUALA LUMPUR

Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said yesterday he had reached an agreement with his deputy over the timing of a leadership change, state media reported, as hundreds of people marched to protest against fuel price hikes.

Abdullah had previously rejected calls from within the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) to formalize his plans to relinquish power, saying he would only discuss a transition after December’s internal leadership polls.

Abdullah has faced mounting public anger since ordering a steep increase in fuel prices in line with a global surge in oil prices.

Hundreds of people marched in Kuala Lumpur yesterday demanding the government withdraw the fuel price rise or resign.

Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak is Abdullah’s heir apparent but has made no public challenge, despite the crisis in UMNO since March elections which produced the worst results in its history.

“Najib and I have decided on the right time for me to hand over the premiership to him. We’ve no problems and we enjoy good working relations,” the state Bernama news agency quoted Abdullah as saying.

Abdullah called for an end to speculation over his relationship with Najib, which he said, would only damage the party.

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