Badawi to step down as Malaysia's PM in March

Badawi to step down as Malaysia's PM in March

Badawi to step down as Malaysia's PM in March

Posted 9 October 2008, 10:27 AEST

Malaysia's embattled Prime Minister, Abdullah Badawi, says he will step down in March of next year.

Our South East Asia correspondent, Karen Percy, reports in 2003, Mr Abdullah took over from Mahathir Mohamed as leader of the United Malays National Organisation and as prime minister.

The 68-year old was popular at first, but in the past year he's faced growing criticism over his failure to address voter concerns about rising prices, crime and ethnic tensions.

In March, he led the party's worst electoral performance in five decades.

Internal party pressure has increased in recent weeks forcing Mr Abdullah to speed up his transition plans.

He had initially planned to hand over to his Deputy Prime Minister, Najib Razak, in 2010.

Mr Razak is now expected to take over after next year's UMNO general assembly to be held in March.

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