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Pak Lah advises not to return home, work in the UAE HERE
By Nina Muslim, Staff Reporter
Published: January 24, 2009, 00:30
Dubai: Beleaguered Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi seems set to retire from office in March this year, despite some appeals for him to reconsider staying on as Malaysia's economy worsens.
In September 2008, Badawi, currently on an official visit to GCC states, announced he would be stepping down in March 2009.
He has been blamed for his party's lacklustre showing at last year's general elections.
Some have since asked him not leave office, however, including opposition blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin, who was recently imprisoned under the country's Internal Security Act.
Badawi told journalists after paying an official visit to His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, that he was looking forward to retired life.
"I am happy I will retire," he said, adding he did not have any plans on what to do after stepping down.
He did not elaborate further.
Badawi was reportedly asked to step down as premier by senior officers at his party United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), which controls the ruling National Front coalition.
It is reported that he was asked to pass on the torch to his No.2, Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.
The coalition lost two-thirds majority in the parliament for the first time in Malaysian history last year.
Since then, some have come forward asking Badawi to reconsider his decision, saying circumstances have changed, including the weakening global economy. Malaysia's Central Bank lowered interest rate to 2.5 per cent on Thursday, as the economy slowed down.
It projected a 3.5 per cent growth this year, a drop from 5 per cent last year, which is something analysts regard as optimistic.
Badawi's official visit to the GCC is primarily economic in nature - he is seeking to reassure Gulf states of their investment in the Southeast Asian country and to protect Malaysian business interests in the Gulf.
Some Malaysian companies operating in Dubai have encountered problems, including a $1.3 billion (Dh4.7 billion) deal gone sour between Malaysian company WCT Berhad and Dubai's Meydan LLC.
Badawi told journalists that he had not received reports of other companies struggling in the UAE.
"I think they are well-managed. But (if they are in trouble,) they can appeal for help from the government," he said.
He did detail the kind of help the government was offering.
He added Malaysian companies also had a role to play while overseas.
"We work overseas, we must perform and work well. (Companies) should be grateful for their opportunity they get to work here," he said.