Malaysian PM Abdullah resigns: official

Other News Materials 2 April 2009 09:13 (UTC +04:00)

Malaysia's king Thursday accepted Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's resignation, a senior official said, clearing the way for his deputy Najib Razak to take over, AFP reported.

"PM Abdullah offered his resignation to the king. The king is understood to have accepted it," a senior official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

After an hour-long audience, Abdullah emerged from the palace smiling and waving to reporters.

Government officials Wednesday said the king had agreed that Najib could be sworn in as prime minister at 0200 GMT Friday.

Najib was last Thursday officially declared president of the United Malays National Organisation party, effectively clearing his path to the premiership because of its dominance of the political scene.

He said he would reveal details Friday of the direction he wanted to take Malaysia amid economic crisis and political uncertainty, with the core of his roadmap being a programme aimed at uniting the multi-racial nation.

"I think this new thrust will ensure there will be a fairer distribution of government allocations and assistance to all communities," he said Wednesday.

UMNO leads the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition which has ruled Malaysia for more than half a century since the former colony gained independence from Britain in 1957.

However, last year it put up its worst electoral performance for 39 years, leading to calls for Abdullah to step down.

The coalition of race-based parties -- which also represent ethnic Chinese and Indian communities -- were mauled by the opposition led by former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim.