KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysian Prime Minister Ahmad Badawi said on Saturday that he would seek an audience with the country's king on April 2 to announce his resignation, clearing the way for his deputy to take over.
Najib told 2,500 cheering delegates at the annual meeting of the United Malays National Organization (), the main party in the coalition that has ruled Malaysia for 51 years, that he would he would reinvigorate the party.
"We were nearly rejected by the people. Recall that we were nearly ousted...that the power of the people determines our rise and fall," Najib said.
Najib will face an immediate test of his ability to deliver victory to the National Front in a parliamentary by-election on April 7 which political analysts say is a must-win if he is to stamp his authority on the party, coalition and country.
He received an important endorsement on Saturday from the appearance at the congress of Mahathir Mohamad who was prime minister for 22 years until he made way for Abdullah.
Mahathir's sniping helped to bring Abdullah down and the former PM resigned his UMNO membership and said he would not attend a party congress until Abdullah was gone.