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Ex-Malaysian PM demands Badawi's resignation

Former Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad seeks the resignation of his successor and incumbent PM Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

world Updated: Apr 05, 2008 14:25 IST

Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad has sought the resignation of his successor and incumbent Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Mahathir has repeatedly sought Badawi's resignation after last month's poll debacle for the ruling front, Barisan Nasional (BN).

He has now called upon members of the United National Malaysian Organisation (UMNO), the BN's dominant Malay constituent, to challenge Badawi's continuance as the party chief.

Badawi has said he is not quitting as the prime minister and as the BN chief, but has welcomed any election for UMNO leadership. "I am not going anywhere," he told media earlier this week amidst speculation that he might resign.

BN lost its two-thirds majority in the March 8 election, and retained only a simple majority. Each of the three major constituents, UMNO, Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) and Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) lost heavily in parliament and control of five states.

Mahathir, who quit in 2003, has said that he had hoped to go into retirement, but was forced to speak out because of the present conditions.

However, a number of charges of corruption have cropped up, both before and after the elections.

The latest to join the demand for a probe against him is Karpal Singh, the Indian origin chief of the opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP).

Singh has lent his voice to the demand made by NGO Gerak and former United Nations special rapporteur Param Cumaraswamy, The Star newspaper said Saturday.

Like Gerak and Cumaraswamy, Singh pointed to the testimony of former Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) director-general Shafee Yahya during the trial of Anwar Ibrahim in 2000 when Shafee had testified that Mahathir had ordered him to close a file.

"If the allegations against Dr. Mahathir are true, the former prime minister should not be spared from the long arm of the law. There is no limitation period when it comes to criminal prosecution," Singh said.

Anwar Ibrahim, a former deputy prime minister whose trial for corruption and sodomy was ordered by Mahathir, has emerged at the head of the opposition alliance that won an unprecedented 82 seats in parliament.