PUTRAJAYA, 1 April 2009: He does wish he had a bit more time to complete some unfinished business, but he sees no point now to have any regrets about what could have been.
Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who steps down tomorrow after five-and-a-half years as prime minister, said this on 31 March at a farewell meeting and lunch with a group of senior journalists in his official residence Seri Perdana.
“A little longer would be better, but it is not a matter of long or short but what you do that matters,” he said. “Life is a series of changing roles and there is no need to lament when that role changes.”
He added that it was never his intention to serve more than two terms. He now leaves after one-and-a-quarter terms as prime minister, pressured by his detractors within Umno after the Barisan Nasional had its worst showing in last year’s general election.
Perhaps taking a small dig at Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who had on Monday appeared on BBC World News to again attack Abdullah, his son and son-in-law, Abdullah quipped: “You can still lead a useful life (after retirement). You don’t have to tear your hair and scream all over.”
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This article first appeared on 1 April 2009 under the title Pak Lah holds farewell meeting with editors in www.theedgemalaysia.com. Used with permission.