Updated 12.10pm on 3 April 2009
Najib (pic courtesy of theSun)
KUALA LUMPUR, 3 April 2009: Datuk Seri Najib Razak was sworn in as Malaysia’s sixth prime minister today, taking over from Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who stepped down after leading the country for over five years.
Najib, 55, took his oath of office before Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin at Istana Negara despite several attempts by various sectors to stall the appointment because of perceived doubts over his integrity.
Dressed in a black baju Melayu complete with sampin, Najib arrived at the palace at 9.42am, accompanied by his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor. Together they entered the Balairong Seri at 10am, followed by Abdullah and his wife, Datin Seri Jeanne Abdullah.
The dignitaries present included cabinet ministers, menteris besar, the Dewan Negara president and the Dewan Rakyat speaker.
A total of 319 guests, including former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his wife, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, attended the historic event.
The ceremony, steeped in tradition, began when Tuanku Mizan and Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Zahirah entered the throne room at 10.05am and the national anthem was played by the Malaysian Armed Forces band.
After taking his oaths of office, loyalty and confidentiality, Najib signed the four instruments of appointment, followed by the reading of the doa selamat.
The instruments of appointment were then signed by Court of Appeal President Tan Sri Alauddin Mohd Sheriff as witness and handed over to Chief Secretary to the Government, Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan.
At the same ceremony, Abdullah and Jeanne were conferred the nation’s highest award, the Seri Maharaja Mangku Negara (SMN), which carries the title “Tun”, by Tuanku Mizan.
After the swearing-in, Najib proceeded to Masjid Negara for Friday prayers and to visit his father’s grave at Makam Pahlawan.
At about 4pm, outgoing prime minister Abdullah will officially hand over duties to Najib in a ceremony at the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya.
In the evening, Najib will return to his Jalan Duta residence for tahlil and doa selamat prayers and will be on air to address the nation at 8.10pm on TV1.
Najib was born in Kuala Lipis, Pahang, on 23 July 1953, and is the eldest son of the late Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, the nation’s second prime minister, and Tun Hajah Rahah Mohd Noah.
This is the first time that a prime minister’s son is holding the post.
Najib’s leadership capability began to surface when he was elected Pekan Umno division Youth head in 1976. He then went on to become the country’s youngest Member of Parliament at the age of 22 when he won the Pekan seat unopposed in a by-election following his father’s death.
He won the Umno presidency uncontested in the recently-concluded Umno polls. By convention, the Umno president is made prime minister in Malaysia. — Bernama