Malaysian PM Najib praises former premier Abdullah, says he has learned to 'let go'

According to Najib, Abdullah continued to support him on the work the former premier had started.
According to Najib, Abdullah continued to support him on the work the former premier had started. PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has commended former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for being supportive of him

In comments seen as a swipe at former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who has called on him to resign, Najib praised Abdullah - fondly known as "Pak Lah" - for initiating the GLC Transformation Programme 10 years ago.

According to Najib, Abdullah continued to support him on the work the former premier had started. Najib took over from Abdullah as the prime minister in 2009.

"I would like to thank Pak Lah for initiating this programme, and in retirement, has learned how to let go and become supportive of his successor," he said, to laughter from the audience, during a speech to officiate a government-linked company's (GLC) graduation ceremony at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

Najib was taking a swipe at Mahathir who had been criticising his leadership and asking him to step down over his handling of the debt-laden 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) state fund.

Najib sacked his deputy, Muhyiddin Yassin, and replaced the attorney general last month, in what was seen as a bid to stifle questions over the 1MDB scandal.

State-owned 1MDB has debts of over US$11 billion (S$15 billion) and Najib is chairman of its advisory board.

The Wall Street Journal reported last month that investigators looking into allegations of graft and financial mismanagement in 1MDB found that nearly US$700 million, or RM2.6 billion, was deposited into Najib's private bank accounts.

Last week, the country's anti-corruption commission said funds deposited into Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak's bank accounts were from a donation and not from the state fund.