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ARKIB : 03/03/2004

Abdullah denies Taib Mahmud has resigned

PETALING JAYA March 2 - Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi Tueday night denied rumours that Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud has resigned.

"I've not heard anything," he said when asked about the rumours following a dinner organised by the Malaysia Book of Records at the Sunway Lagoon Resort, here.

Late Tuesday evening, rumours were rife that Abdul Taib had handed his resignation letter to Abdullah at the Prime Minister's office in Putrajaya.

Abdullah's reaction clearly indicated that there was no basis to the rumours.

MEANWHILE, in SIBU, Sarawak Assistant Minister for Infrastructure Development and Communication Datuk Abdul Wahab Dollah is one of three people tipped to replace incumbent Datuk Seri Mohamed Effendi Norwawi as candidate for the Kuala Rajang seat.

Sources told Bernama Tuesday that the other two are local corporate figures whose timber/plantation and construction/property development firms are listed on the Kuala lumpur Stock Exchange.

However, one of the two was reported to have declined nomination.

Abdul Wahab, 54, an engineer from Kampung Tian in Matu, is said to have been actively going around and is a frontliner for the seat.

He is the present state assemblyman for Matu/Daro which he has held for five terms

In his debut in 1983, he won unopposed. Wahab is also Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) information chief.

The sources said, however, that it had yet to be confirmed whether Effendi, the Minister with Special Functions, was quitting although he had indicated he wanted to retire for health reasons.

Effendi was also recenty quoted by his private secretary, Khairul Yusni Mohamd Yusof, as saying that he was "seeking to be excused" from contesting in the election.

The sources said Effendi, 56, was expected to meet Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi Tuesday to discuss the matter.

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