KAULA LUMPUR- Former Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad has left the ruling party, United Malays National Organization (UMNO), according to international media.
“I won’t call it UMNO anymore, this is (current Prime Minister) Najib’s party. I feel embarrassed that I am associated with a party that is seen as supporting corruption – it has caused me to feel ashamed,” he told reporters as he announced his exit at a news conference.
“I am very much ashamed of all that is happening, I decided that I cannot be a party to all these things, so the least I can to do is leave the party,” he added. “I’m giving up on Party Najib. There is no more a party UMNO.”
In a statement, Mahathir also accused Najib of “hijacking” UMNO to keep himself in power and free from criminal prosecution, amid a graft scandal surrounding state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). “I am trying to make sure that Najib will not continue to be the PM of this country,” he said.
Mahathir denied that his exit was over his disappointment that his son Mukhriz Mahathir was not the prime minister. Earlier this month, Mukhriz had stepped down as chief minister of the state of Kedah.
Describing the party as “incorrigible”, Mahathir said he had tried to find reasons to remain in UMNO, but the last straw came when former deputy prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin was suspended from the party. Muhyiddin had made a number of speeches and comments critical of Najib.
“There should be a core group to bring everyone who wants to see the removal of Najib together,” he added.
Likening UMNO to a corpse, Khairuddin described the party as one that is “no longer relevant”, reported Malaysiakini.
“The current leadership has strayed from the original struggle and power is abused to defend those who are corrupt,” Malaysiakini quoted him as saying.