Monday, May 19, 2008

Malaysia's former premier Mahathir quits ruling party

Posted : Mon, 19 May 2008 06:10:01 GMT Author : DPA

Kuala Lumpur
- Malaysia's former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad announced Monday that he will quit the ruling party he helmed for 22 years. Mahathir made the shocking announcement that he would quit the United Malay National Organisation (UMNO) during a talk in the northern Kedah state, the Star newspaper's online news portal reported.

The former premier, who has been a member of UMNO since its inception in 1946, has been engaged in a very public spat with his successor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi following the ruling government's great losses during the March 8 general elections.

Mahathir, 83, had demanded the prime minister's resignation and said Badawi would eventually bring about UMNO's political destruction.

Mahathir, who was one of Asia's longest-serving elected leaders, selected Badawi to succeed him in October 2003 but rifts between the two began emerging just a year later.