19 October 2013

Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today brought the curtain down on his long and illustrious career in Umno when he opted not to defend his Kepala Batas division chief post, after 35 years helming the division.

The vacancy left by Abdullah, 73, is expected to be filled by either Kepala Batas MP Datuk Seri Reezal Merican or division deputy chief Datuk Hilmi Rashid, who are vying for the top post.

In his farewell message, Abdullah called on everyone to remain loyal to Umno and continue to serve the party diligently.

He said winners should help party president Datuk Seri Najib Razak to strengthen the party, as part of its political transformation process.

“Do not sulk. Do not stop or go against the party. It does not matter whether you win or lose but all of us must unite and continue to work for the party.

“This is the task ahead for all of us,” he said.

The country’s fifth prime minister, Badawi also served as Umno president from 2003 and 2009.

He took over from long-serving prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad when the latter decided to step down in October 2003.

The soft-spoken Abdullah earned the biggest mandate from the electorate in 2004 but squandered the historic opportunity to reform the country and carry through many of his election pledges. As a result, in 2008 he led Barisan Nasional to a poor showing, losing its customary two-thirds control of Parliament.

He stepped down in 2009 and handed the reins of both the party and the premiership to his successor Najib.

Abdullah who was also the Kepala Batas MP since 1978, opted not to stand in the 13th general election and gave way to Reezal, who was his political secretary.


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