Mahathir Quits UMNO in Protest

Mahathir Quits UMNO in ProtestMahathir Quits UMNO in Protest

FORMER Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has quit the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), part of the ruling Barisan National coalition.

He announced his resignation from the party during a press conference today to show his displeasure with current Prime Minister Najib Razak, saying that UMNO was now “Najib’s party”, Asian Correspondent website reported.

“I want to leave UMNO because it is no longer UMNO. It is a party dedicated to supporting Najib, protecting Najib, to upholding whatever he does, including some of the wrong things he has done,” he told reporters.

Mahathir said he could not be a member of such a party, adding that his wife, Siti Hasmah, supported the move and was also leaving the party, though he could not speak for his son, the recently-ousted Kedah state chief minister Mukhriz Mahathir, who is also an UMNO member. However, Mahathir said he would not join any other political party nor would he start a new one, as he was “UMNO at heart”.

This would not be the first time Mahathir has quit the party – he also left UMNO in 2008 when the party was helmed by then Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, whom he was also not on good terms with.

Mahathir later rejoined in 2009 when the mantle was passed to Najib, though over time, their relationship also soured. Since the 1MDB scandal broke out last year, Mahathir has been one of the most outspoken and harshest critics of Najib and his handling of the issue. The ex-premier now intends to align himself with a group of Malaysians set on seeing Najib removed from his position.