KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has high hopes for his successor, Najib Razak, to do a good job. “I will be happy if he succeeds in doing more than I did,” he said in an interview with Mingguan Malaysia published today.
He told the Umno-owned newspaper that he was neither jealous of Najib nor bore him any ill-will. “I don’t want him to think about me because I want him to do a proper job,” he was quoted as saying when asked why he had never called for Najib to step down.
Abdullah’s predecessor, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, has conducted a campaign against Najib for months, because of the financial affairs of the government investment arm 1Malaysia Development Bhd, and has repeatedly asked the prime minister and Umno president to leave office.
Mahathir’s campaign was similar to the criticisms he raised against Abdullah after stepping down in 2003, leading to Abdullah’s resignation in 2009, a year after the Barisan Nasional lost control of five states, and its parliamentary super majority.
Last week Najib had praised Abdullah for learning to “let go” after his retirement, a remark viewed as a jab at Mahathir.
Abdullah said that although the Barisan Nasional suffered its worst performance at the 2013 general election, the coalition had still been victorious.
However he cautioned Umno leaders about discontent in the party after Najib removed deputy president Muhyiddin Yassin and vice-president Mohd Shafie Apdal from his Cabinet for public comments about 1MDB and a reported US$700 million deposit in Najib’s personal bank accounts.
Abdullah said if the leaders ignored the discontent “it could mean the end of Umno within a week”.