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May 20, 2008

PM Abdullah in danger as Mahathir quits party

sun2surf - [...] "It's like pulling another brick out of the crumbling wall," said Tricia Yeoh, director of the Centre for Public Policy Studies. "Once Mahathir resigns, some others will too."

If UMNO lawmakers quit the party and declare themselves independents, meaning no party commands a clear majority in parliament, it will send Malaysia into the political wilderness.

Umno, the backbone of the 14-party BN that has ruled since independence from Britain in 1957, holds 79 of BN's 140 seats.

The opposition, led by former deputy premier and Mahathir's foe, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, needs to gain just 30 seats to win a simple majority and form the government.

"Mahathir's resignation highlighted the precarious political situation in Malaysia and could be negative to the ringgit currency," markets consultancy 4CAST said in a commentary.

Research house Informa Global Markets (IGM) said the resignation was more likely to undermine Abdullah's hold on the party rather than remove a thorn from the premier's flesh.

But it added: "It is too early to determine if it will split the party, and thereby weaken Umno further, which already is facing prospect of defections."... selanjutnya.


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