Five Facts About Malaysian PM Abdullah - From Reuters

July 10 (Reuters, 20: 49) – Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced on Thursday he will step down in June 2010. Abdullah has been under pressure to quit since the ruling coalition suffered its worst electoral setback in 50 years in a March 08 vote. On June 13, he said he had agreed a succession plan with his deputy Najib Razak over leadership change. Two days later he said he will run for party presidency in year-end elections to calm speculation about any imminent handover. Here are five quick facts on Abdullah:- * Malaysia’s fifth prime minister, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi took power on October 31, 2003. He was appointed to the post by his mentor, Mahathir Mohamad, who retired after a historic 22 years as a country’s leader. * He was born on 26 November 1939 into a prominent family in Penang, the northern state that saw some of the first fruits’s of Malaysia’s economic success in the 1990’s. His father was a founding member of UMNO, the country’s main ruling party. * Taking a BA degree in Islamic studies in 1964, he worked in the civil service before entering politics. Elected to parliament in 1978, he rose swiftly through the ranks, becoming minister of education, then defence, and finally foreign minister by 1991. Mahathir disowned his hand-picked political heir after his retirement and has since called for Abdullah to step down. * Praised for fusing Islamic values with a modern outlook. Abdullah, also known as ‘Mr. Clean’, backed anti-corruption drives and promoted the concept of ‘civilisational Islam’. Coming after the acerbic and sometimes confrontational rhetoric of Mahathir, his style of leadership has been more soothing toward fellow politicians and the west. * Abdullah won March 2004 elections by a landslide. He remarried in June 2007, after the death of his first wife with whom he had two children. Calls for his resignation began in earnest after March 2008, when his national front coalition lost its two-thirds majority in parliament and ceded five states to the opposition in its worst election result in 50 years, (Source: Reuters, Prime Minister’s Official Website)

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