Malaysia’s prime minister resigned on Thursday after 5 1/2 years of largely ineffectual rule in a prelude to handing power to his deputy, who faces the mammoth task of rebuilding the economy and the ruling party’s shattered reputation.
Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi submitted his resignation to the king, the constitutional monarch, who is to swear in Najib Razak as the new prime minister on Friday.
But the transition hit a snag when all 81 opposition lawmakers in Parliament sent a petition to the king, asking him to delay Najib’s swearing-in until he has been cleared of allegations of corruption and links to a murder case.
Abdullah, 69, was pressured to step down after the ruling National Front coalition suffered its worst results ever in the March 2008 general elections.
The opposition also benefited from anger among minorities against a decades-old policies that give preferences to majority Malays in jobs, education and business.