REUTERS - Veteran politician Najib Razak becomes Malaysia’s sixth Prime Minister on Friday, succeeding Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who bows out after over five years.
As leader of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), Najib takes the wheel of the National Front coalition that has ruled Malaysia for 51 years.
Here is an overview of the 55-year old’s life and career:
July 23, 1953: Born Kuala Lipis, in the east coast state of Pahang. Eldest son of Malaysia’s second prime minister Abdul Razak Hussein and the nephew of its third Hussein Onn.
1960-67: Primary and secondary education at St John’s Institution, one of the oldest schools in the capital Kuala Lumpur, before transferring to Malvern Boys College in Worchestershire. He takes a bachelors degree in Industrial Economics at Nottingham University, before returning to Malaysia.
1974-76: Works as public relations manager at state oil firm Petronas.
1976: Runs as Malaysia’s youngest election candidate at age of 22 after the death of his father leaves the Pekan constituency in his home state of Pahang vacant. He wins seven subsequent elections and still holds the seat.
1976-1986: Heads UNMO Youth Division in Pahang from 1976-1980. Joins UNMO Supreme Council in 1981. From 1978 to 1986, he holds a series of Deputy Minister posts in Energy, Telecommunications, Education, and Finance ministries.
1986-1999: Holds various portfolios as Minister in departments of Culture, Youth and Sports, Defence and Education. From April 1987 to May 1988 he takes over UMNO Youth movement leadership from Anwar Ibrahim, as acting Chairman of UMNO Youth.
Jan 7, 2004: Becomes deputy prime minister of Malaysia. In March he is given defence minister post as well and in July becomes deputy president of UNMO, unopposed.
April 2008: Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi identifies Najib as his probable successor.
June 13: Abdullah says he has agreed succession plan with his deputy Najib over leadership change. A 2010 handover is floated in following months.
Oct 31: Malaysian court frees a former top aide to Najib who had been charged with abetting two policemen in the murder of a Mongolian model. Najib has repeatedly denied any link to the lurid murder, in which Altantuya Shaariibuu was shot twice and then blown up with explosives in a jungle outside Kuala Lumpur.
Nov 2: Najib wins his 134th nomination for the presidency of UNMO, virtually assuring his position as the country’s next prime minister.
March 10, 2009: Najib unveils 60 billion Malaysian ringgit ($16.46 billion) stimulus plan for new spending in 2009 and 2010.
March 26: Najib wins UNMO presidency unopposed.
April 1: King gives consent for Najib to be appointed Prime Minister.