Petikan daripada Malaysiakini
kemaskini 4:40pm Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi mengumumkan keputusan penting yang ditunggu-tunggu - melepaskan jawatan nombor satu Umno enam bulan lagi apabila tidak bersedia bertanding dalam pemilihan parti itu Mac tahun depan.
Beliau juga akan melepaskan jawatan perdana menteri dan menyerahkan kuasa kepada timbalannya pada Mac apabila Datuk Seri Najib Razak dijangka dipilih sebagai presiden baru parti itu.
Keputusan perdana menteri itu yang diumumkan dalam taklimat Dewan Tertinggi BN petang ini sudah dijangka sejak keputusan terbaru mesyuarat tergempar Majlis Tertinggi (MT) bulan lepas.
Abdullah pada awalnya dijadual meninggalkan jawatan nombor teratas Umno, dan perdana menteri, pada pertengahan 2010.
Mesyuarat BN itu yang bermula selepas jam 3.30 petang masih lagi berlangsung ketika ini.
Sementara itu, sekumpulan penyokong Abdullah berhimpun di luar Pusat Dagangan Dunia Putra (PWTC) di Kuala Lumpur, tempat berlangsung mesyuarat berkenaan.
Mereka membawa kain rentang yang menggesa Abdullah untuk terus memegang jawatan berkenaan sehingga 2010 seperti dijadual pada mulanya.
Kain rentang tersebut berbunyi: 'Hormati peralihan kuasa, elak perpecahan lagi', dan 'Pak Lah, teruskan perjuangan'. Mereka turut melaungkan 'Hidup Pak Lah' dan 'Pak Lah presiden, Najib timbalan'.
PM not contesting, to quit in March
Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has decided not to defend his Umno president's post and will quit in March next year when the ruling party meets for its annual general assembly.
Abdullah told leaders of the 13 Barisan Nasional component parties at a BN supreme council meeting in Putra World Trade Centre this afternoon that he would be stepping down as prime minister in five months time.
“PM to step down in March, deputy PM to take over. He won’t stand for Umno election,” a component party leader told Malaysiakini via an SMS message. The meeting is still underway.
It is also learnt that the BN leaders are presently thanking Abdullah for his leadership.
As the prime minister was briefing BN leaders on the power transfer plan, scores of Abdullah’s supporters gathered outside the PWTC building to urge him to stay on.
Armed with banners, the supporters are calling on the embattled premier to continue until 2010 amid the now confirmed speculation that he might be forced to step down earlier.
Most short-lived as PM
Should Abdullah resign in March 2009, he would be the most short-lived as prime minister, serving a total of five years five months.
The country's third prime minister Hussein Onn, who resigned in 1981 to make way for Dr Mahathir Mohamad ostensibly due to health concerns, served for five years six months.
Abdullah, who took power on Oct 31, 2003 from Mahathir, won a landslide victory in the March 2004 general election only to suffer an unprecedented defeat four years later.
He was initially buoyed by a groundswell of support for his promises of reform after two decades of hardline rule under Mahathir - the country’s longest serving leader.
However, he was quickly seen as weak and ineffective after failing to come to grips with endemic corruption, high crime rates and inefficient bureaucracy, issues which he had vowed to address in his 2004 election manifesto.