Abdullah Risks Party’s Grip on Malaysia by Staying On (Update1)
By Douglas Wong and Angus Whitley
April 29 (Bloomberg) — If Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is politically doomed, he isn’t acting like it.
Abdullah has come under pressure to step down since he last month led the United Malays National Organisation and its coalition partners to the smallest electoral victory since independence in 1957. Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim is seeking to court enough lawmakers to topple the government; Mahathir Mohamad, who hand-picked Abdullah as his successor after serving 22 years as prime minister, is leading calls for his ouster to protect UMNO’s half-century grip on power.
Abdullah says he plans to stay put at least until party elections in December, fighting his detractors with policies to bolster popular support including larger gasoline subsidies for the poor and a new anti-corruption commission.
“What Abdullah is trying to do is buy a little bit more time,” said Mohamed Mustafa Ishak, professor of politics at Universiti Utara Malaysia. “At best, he can delay his downfall.”