19/5 Former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced that he has quit Umno at 12:35 today/STAR
Dr Mahathir is in Alor Star this morning to deliver a speech at the invitation of the Kedah branch of the Dewan Perniagaan Melayu Malaysia. This announcement was came after he delivered a speech to some 3,000 attendee said to include also PAS members.
Sources quoted that he repeated his speech in the Johor MyKMU event in Johor Baru, which is spinned by Malaysia Insider as playing the racial card. He reiterated his call for Pak Lah to quit with a strong message, "Pak Lah harus di singkirkan segera!"
In Alor Setar, he repeated that it is not about UMNO or PAS issue but the consequence is to Malay.
This move could be disruptive for Pak Lah, who is trying to delay the power transfer to 2010, and has been aggressively meeting the branches and "bribing" with offers for all sort of "help" to UMNO division officials.
Will this move by Tun bring out a reaction from the members and dissolution of branches at the grassroot remain to be seen?
It may be argued the UMNO institution will remain intact and the grassroot reaction for incidents to deny him a place in the G7 and physical abuse like spraying was able to be contained by Pak Lah.
With UMNO in a "hujong tanduk" situation and under dire threat from ground upheaval, it could be different. With Tun's influence visibly appaarent in the GE12, this reaction by Tun is not expected to not have effect on Pak Lah.
On a positive side, it could lead to a move for a serious discussion within UMNO or a more serious effort for a behind-the-scene move by top UMNO officials to expediate the power transfer.
A Dr Mahathir outside of UMNO could be more vocal and deadly for Abdullah and draw very bad effect on Abdullah internationally.
Already, he has threatened to want to bring to court and he will readily spill the bean on many judges. The manner the media report is spinned to implicate him may have brought about a strong reaction from him. Abdullah responded to urge to not make judgement.
The Star report below:
Monday May 19, 2008 MYT 1:35:26 PM
Dr M quits Umno (updated)
ALOR STAR: Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced Monday at 12.35pm that he is quitting Umno.
He said this during a talk here on Monday.
Dr Mahathir joined Umno at its inception in 1946.
He became a Member of Parliament in 1964 when he won the Kota Setar Selatan seat.
He lost the seat in the following general election in 1969.
Following the May 13, 1969, riots Dr Mahathir was sacked from the Umno Supreme Council on July 12 because of the widespread distribution of his letter to first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman criticising Tunku’s manner of handling the country’s administration.
Dr Mahathir rejoined Umno on March 7, 1972 and was appointed Senator in 1973. He relinquished the senatorship post a year later to contest the Kubang Pasu seat in the general elections. He was returned unopposed and was appointed Minister of Education.
In 1975, Dr Mahathir became one of the three vice-presidents of Umno.
Tun Hussein Onn appointed Dr Mahathir Deputy Prime Minister on Sept 15, 1978.
Dr Mahathir was Prime Minister of Malaysia from July 16, 1981, until Oct 31, 2003.
Umno information chief Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib said he was surprised at the decision, but added that it was Dr Mahathir's right to do so.
"Every member has the right to join or leave the party," he said.
Asked if Umno would convene an emergency meeting, the former Umno vice-president and Selangor Mentri Besar said that "we will wait and see."
The next Umno Supreme Council meeting is scheduled to be held within the next two or three weeks.
Malaysiakini.com report below:
Mahathir quits UmnoPak Lah could ignore it but with Anwar lurking in the corner to topple UMNO, will he do so? Or will it lead to Anwar rejoining UMNO? Many believed he has yet to sign the membership application form for UMNO. Ezam is believed to be making his way back to UMNO.
Ahti Veeranggan May 19, 08 12:45pm
Former Umno president Dr Mahathir Mohamad today announced that he was quitting Umno with immediate effect and urged other members to emulate him.
He said he was quitting the party, which he led for almost 22 years until handing over the reins to Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in 2003, as a sign of no confidence in his successor's leadership.
"I will only come back to the party when there is a change in leadership," the ex-premier told a crowd at a forum in his home state of Kedah this morning.
He also called on all Umno ministers, deputy ministers and all levels of party leaders to join him in quitting the party.
However, he asked these members not to join other political parties.
"Wait 'till Abdullah quit as the prime minister and party president and then we can return to Umno," he said.
Mahathir dropped the bombshell during his speech at the 'The Position of Malays post-12th General Elections' in Alor Star.
His resignation appears to be part of his strategy in upping the ante in his bid to force Abdullah to step down in the wake of the ruling coalition's worst setback in the March 8 polls.
Abdullah's most vocal critic
Mahathir, 82, joined Umno at its inception in 1946 and in recent years has been Abdullah's most vocal critic.
He entered active politics as a member of Parliament for Kedah's Kota Star Selatan in 1964.
He lost the seat in the disastrous 1969 general elections, and was expelled from the party after attacking then president and prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman.
Mahathir was invited back into the party by second prime minister, Abdul Razak, and re-elected to Parliament in 1974 for the seat of Kubang Pasu, also in Kedah.
Soon after he was appointed education minister. Within four years he was deputy leader of the party, and in 1981, became prime minister.
The situation maybe similar, but is not as similarly simple as compared with the splitting of UMNO due to formation of PAS, Parti Negara, IMP or Semangat 46.