Mahathir quits Malaysia's ruling UMNO party, protesting corruption

Former Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad waves to media as he leaves the '1Malaysia Development Berhad' (1MDB) forum after inspector-general of Police Khalid Abu Bakar advised the forum should be cancelled due to security concerns, at t
Mohd Samsul Mohd Said | Getty Images

Malaysia's former premier Mahathir Mohamad said on Monday he is quitting the ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) party, as it is being seen as "supporting corruption" under Prime Minister Najib Razak's leadership.

Mahathir, Malaysia's longest-serving leader, remains a highly respected and influential figure and has become the fiercest critic of Najib, who is facing pressure over a graft scandal surrounding state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

"I won't call it UMNO anymore, this is Najib's party. I feel embarrassed that I am associated with a party that is seen as supporting corruption - it had caused me to feel ashamed," he told reporters at a press conference.

But the leader said he would not set up a new party or join any other party.

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