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May 22, 2008

Abdullah calls emergency talks over Mahathir

sun2surf - Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi called an emergency session of his ruling party's top policy-making body today, seeking to stamp his authority after the dramatic resignation of ex-premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad form Umno (United Malays National Organisation).

Mahathir's departure, which cast further doubt on Abdullah's future, has raised Malaysia's political risks and spooked investors as the government grapples with high inflation, slowing economy and rising subsidies.

Abdullah, who has scheduled to chair a special meeting of an Umno supreme council at 8pm today, also faced pressure from former deputy premier Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, the leader of the Opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) coalition.

Anwar has said his group had the numbers to topple the government.

"The excessive politicking has generated extra uncertainties into the whole political and economic environment," said Zainal Aznam Yusof, a senior fellow in Malaysia's Institute of Strategic and International Studies.

Umno has been in turmoil since a poor showing in the March 12th General Election, when the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition which Umno dominates lost its crucial two-thirds majority in parliament.

Malaysia said today the annual inflation rate hit 3.0% in April, the highest in 15 months, led by firmer food prices. The government is also considering reforms to fuel subsidy policy, aware that substantial fuel price hikes could stoke popular anger.... selanjutnya.


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