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Friday, April 3, 2009

Abdullah has left the building

Former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi waves as his successor Datuk Seri Najib Razak watches, after the handing over ceremony in Putrajaya. – Reuters pic

By Neville Spykerman and Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani malaysianinsider

PUTRAJAYA, April 3 — Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has officially handed over the leadership of the country to new prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and left the prime minister’s department at 5.30pm today.

The power transition had taken place earlier behind closed doors and was witnessed by Chief Secretary Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan.

Before being driven off with his wife Tun Jeanne Abdullah, the former prime minister walked down the steps of the country’s corridor of power for the last time today flanked by the media.

Najib and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, walked respectfully behind the couple as they said goodbye to hundreds of staff from the prime minister’s department.

There were many teary eyes among staff, many of whom had been waiting for hours in the sun to see them off.

As they reached the motorcade, Abdullah turned, embraced Najib, waved to the crowd before getting into his car.

Rosmah was seen dabbing her eyes with tissues as the motorcade slowly drove away. Perhaps as a sign to the nation that he was getting right to work, Najib walked back into his new office, catching all by surprise as he was expected to leave, as well.

A reporter loudly asked Rosmah how it felt to be the new first lady and she replied, “Of course I am happy”.

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the historic occasion was both sad and joyous.

He said he was sad to see Pak Lah go and wished the former premier and his wife well but also congratulated Najib on his appointment.

Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan said Pak Lah had done a lot to improve the police force while he was prime minister.

“I was very happy working with Pak Lah and I look forward to continuing to work with Najib.”

PM bids farewell

Outgoing Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi bids farewell to his staff at the PM's Department this afternoon.

Earlier, Abdullah met with the King to hand in his resignation in a planned transition of power to his deputy Najib Abdul Razak.

Camera: Amiruddin Abdullah

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