Ex-PM Abdullah steps in as Petronas adviser

KUALA LUMPUR • The government has appointed former Malaysian prime minister Tun Abdullah Badawi as adviser to national oil company Petroliam Nasional Bhd, or Petronas.

He will start work on April 1, replacing Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who was relieved of the post recently, the Bernama news agency reported yesterday.

Mr Abdullah, 76, who served as prime minister for 51/2 years, stepped down in April 2009 amid pressure from Umno and Dr Mahathir, who questioned his leadership. Datuk Seri Najib Razak then took over as prime minister.

Mr Abdullah led the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition to its strongest victory in the 2004 general election. The opposition managed to retain only the Kelantan state assembly as voters were positive that he would make big political changes after 22 years of Dr Mahathir's premiership.

But while Mr Abdullah was in office, BN suffered its worst showing as well, losing five state assemblies in the 2008 general election. The coalition also failed to secure its customary two-thirds of Parliamentary seats for the first time.

Dr Mahathir, 90, was removed as adviser to Petronas, Malaysia's sole representative on the Fortune 500 list of the world's largest companies, after he left Umno and signed a declaration on March 4 with opposition leaders and civil rights activists asking Mr Najib to resign.

The Petronas adviser's office is located on the 85th floor of Tower 1 at the Petronas Twin Towers - literally the highest office in the land.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 26, 2016, with the headline 'Ex-PM Abdullah steps in as Petronas adviser'. Print Edition | Subscribe