PUTRAJAYA: In a stunning development, former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today announced that he was leaving Umno, citing loss of confidence in the party’s top leadership. Dr Mahathir said he has decided to quit the party as he was “ashamed” of the party’s image, claiming that it was dedicated only towards protecting Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who is also Umno president.
“I am very ashamed with what had happened. There is no longer Umno, but only a 'Najib' party. “As such, I have decided to no longer be a member,” he told a press conference at the Perdana Leadership Foundation this afternoon. He said both him and his wife, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali, would be leaving Umno.
Dr Mahathir said he would not be forming a new party, nor would he be joining another party. He denied that his decision to quit the party had anything to do with the dismissal of his son Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir from the Kedah Menteri Besar post. Mukhriz resigned on February 3 after losing the majority of support among the state assemblymen. He was replaced by Datuk Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah.
Tun Mahathir said the issue surrounding Mukhriz played no role in his decision. “If I wanted my son to be prime minister, I would have appointed him as a minister during my time as prime minister. But Mukhriz only joined politics after I resigned," he said. He said he would submit a formal letter to leave the party to the Umno secretary-general soon.