PUTRAJAYA, 3 April 2009: Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi this afternoon officially handed over the duties of prime minister to Datuk Seri Najib Razak at the Prime Minister’s Office at the Perdana Putra building here.
The handing-over ceremony took place at the fifth floor of the Prime Minister’s Office at 4.50pm.
Najib had taken the oath of office as the country’s sixth prime minister before the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, at the Istana Negara in Kuala Lumpur this morning.
The nation recorded history with the elevation of Najib to the post of prime minister when, for the first time, the post was filled by the son of a former prime minister. Najib’s father, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, was the country’s second prime minister.
At the handing-over ceremony, Abdullah, 70, attired in an orange baju Melayu, handed to Najib the prime minister’s blue desk file to signify the official handing over of duties and responsibilities. Najib, 55, was attired in a pink baju Melayu at the ceremony, which was witnessed by Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan.
The ceremony marked the conclusion of the transition of power from Abdullah to Najib, a process which was carried out in an organised and smooth manner in keeping with the tradition of power transitions in the country.
On 8 Oct last year, Abdullah announced that he would not defend the post of Umno president and would relinquish the post of prime minister in March this year, thus hastening the transition of power to Najib earlier than the originally scheduled date of June 2010.
On 28 March, Najib was officially declared Umno president, a post he had won unopposed, at the Umno general assembly at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) in Kuala Lumpur.
Yesterday, Abdullah, who had helmed the country for more than five years, had an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong at the Istana Negara to hand over the letter relinquishing the post of prime minister and sought His Majesty’s consent to appoint Najib as his successor.
Abdullah was appointed the fifth prime minister of the country on 31 Oct 2003, and the handing-over of duties from Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to Abdullah had taken place at the same Prime Minister’s Office, also on a Friday.
After the handing-over ceremony, Abdullah and his wife, Tun Jeanne Abdullah, shook hands with the ministers, deputy ministers and senior government officers who were waiting at the lobby of the Prime Minister’s Office.
They also shook hands with the staff of the Prime Minister’s Office who had lined up from the main entrance of the Prime Minister’s Office to Abdullah’s car. Abdullah and Jeanne were accompanied by Najib and his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.
Earlier, the Grand Imam of the Putra Mosque, Datuk Manaf Mat, read the “doa selamat” seeking God’s grace for the continued good health of Abdullah, Jeanne and his family.
Some of those present were overcome with emotion and were sad and teary-eyed.
Najib and Rosmah then accompanied Abdullah and Jeanne to Abdullah’s car and Abdullah waved goodbye to everyone present before leaving the premises of the Prime Minister’s Office at 5.25pm.
Abdullah was appointed deputy prime minister on 8 Jan 1999, and eventually became prime minister when he succeeded Mahathir who had resigned from the post.
Abdullah, who holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Islamic Studies from the University of Malaya, is a former civil servant and had held various posts including deputy secretary-general of the then culture, youth and sports ministry.
Since venturing into politics in 1964, Abdullah had held various portfolios in the government including education minister, defence minister, minister in the prime minister’s department, foreign minister, home minister and finance minister. — Bernama