Sunday, October 19, 2008

BADAWI: Malaysia's beleaguered leader rebukes critics

Malaysia's embattled prime minister has lashed out at his predecessor, Mahathir Mohamad, and other critics who want him to hasten his retirement.

In a hastily arranged news conference, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi accused Mahathir late yesterday of wanting "to create changes, anger and hatred," the national news agency Bernama reported.

"What right has (Mahathir) to do this?" Abdullah said during a visit to eastern Malaysia. "It's better for (Mahathir) not to speak at all today."

Mahathir, who handed power to Abdullah in 2003, has emerged as the harshest critic of his successor's policies. Mahathir has urged ruling party officials to ensure that Abdullah's associates are removed from key posts in party elections next year.

Abdullah's remarks illustrate the continuing political infighting despite Abdullah's pledge to step down by March to appease dissidents within the ruling coalition.

Malaysia's beleaguered leader rebukes critics
Philippine Star, Philippines