Abdullah pledges moderate Islamic rule

Sept. 23, 2004 at 4:06 AM

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Sept. 23 (UPI) -- Malaysia Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi promised Thursday to implement a moderate Islamic administration, undercutting fundamentalist opposition.

Abdullah asserted his control over the ruling United Malays National Organization in a keynote speech to his first party congress since taking office a year ago from longtime leader Mahathir Mohamad, Business Times reported Thursday.

"UMNO has never allowed religion to be used as a political tool," Abdullah said.

The meeting was expected to endorse Abdullah as party president and Najib Razak as deputy president. Both are standing unopposed.

Abdullah said his program for Islamic administration, first floated in the election campaign, would emphasize economic development and quality of life, essentially, the party's long-standing program for the betterment of Malays wrapped in Islamic packaging, the paper said.

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