Malaysia's ruling party has announced it will hold an emergency meeting on Friday, a development that has triggered new speculation about the future of embattled Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

The meeting was announced Thursday by Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak. Najib has been named successor to Mr. Abdullah, who has agreed under pressure to step down in 2010.

Mr. Abdullah suggested last week he may leave office before then and transfer power to his deputy.

The ruling coalition lost its decades-old two-thirds majority in parliament in March.  Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has announced his intention to bring down the ruling coalition but has missed a self-imposed deadline.  

The former deputy prime minister had pledged to attract enough ruling-party lawmakers to switch to his three-party coalition by September 16, allowing him to form a new government.  
Anwar's opposition coalition controls 82 seats in the legislature and needs the support of another 30 lawmakers to break the ruling coalition's grip on power.  

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.