Kuala Lumpur : Najib Tun Razak, who is expected to take over as Malaysia’s prime minister, wants to be judged by his actions and not by “malicious, baseless lies” spread against him.
He has also urged the media and the opposition parties not to heed rumours that he would crack down on them, media reports said Sunday.
“God willing, I can manage it. They are malicious, slanderous and baseless lies… I have given my replies but the perpetrators persist because this is part of the ploy by the opposition,” he said at the end of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) general assembly that elected him as the new chief last Friday.
Currently deputy prime minister in charge of finance and defence, Razak is likely to take over once incumbent Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmed Badawi meets the royal constitutional head of state Thursday to express his desire to resign.
Razak has a tough task ahead in managing an otherwise strong economy buffeted by global recession and manage frictions within the polity on one hand and racial tensions in a society that has majority Malays, 33 percent ethnic Chinese and eight percent Indians.
Razak, 57, comes from a political family. He is son of Abdul Razak, the second prime minister and a nephew of Hussein Onn, the third prime minister.
When aged just 23, he became the youngest MP in Malaysian history, winning uncontested the Pekan constituency in the east coast state of Pahang after it fell vacant following the sudden death of his father.
A year later he became the youngest deputy minister and returned to state politics to become chief minister of Pahang, his home state, at the age of 29. He later returned as MP and was appointed a full minister in 1987. By 1993, Najib was elected as one of six vice presidents of UMNO. He retained this post in party elections held in 1993, 1996 and 2000.
Throughout his political career, Najib held a variety of ministerial portfolios (the first at the age of 32), culminating in the post of minister of defence before being chosen as the deputy prime minister by Badawi.
Razak has been accused by the political opposition of receiving illegal gratification in a number of defence deals including Eurocopter, Scorpene submarines and Sukhoi fighter aircraft purchases.
He is accused of having met a Mongolian businesswoman, Shaaribuugiin Altantuyaa who came to Malaysia, allegedly to demand her share of money in a business deal. She later died under mysterious circumstances.
Razak has fended off the charge. Raja Petra, a blogger who posted the allegation, was detained and tried on charge of sedition last year.