PENANG, Oct 8 — Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was forced to retire against his will at a time not of his choosing.
He said the abrupt and undignified nature of Abdullah's departure was a sad reflection of his weakened political position that lost him the respect of his party.
“Unlike his predecessor Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Abdullah was forced to retire against his will at a time not of his choosing,” he said in his statement released here by his office.
Ironically, he said, the public respected Abdullah more than his party, Umno, because he was seen as a “well-intentioned man who is probably one of the few clean leaders left in Umno”.
“Abdullah should leave a legacy of fighting corruption by having open tender and taking action against the leaders in Barisan Nasional and Umno who abuse the power,” he added.
Lim was commenting on the Prime Minister's decision not to defend his Umno presidency in the coming party election.
After chairing the BN supreme council today, Abdullah announced that he would not defend his post as Umno president and would step down as prime minister in March next year.