KOTA BHARU, Kelantan: Malaysia’s former Minister for International Trade and Industry Mustapa Mohamed on Tuesday (Sep 18) announced his resignation from the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), after more than 40 years as a member.
In a statement, the former UMNO Supreme Council member and Kelantan Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman said his decision to quit UMNO stemmed from his disagreement with the party’s direction.
To remain relevant in today’s dynamic national political landscape, Mustapa said UMNO, as the backbone of the BN collation, could not rely on the support of the Malays and Bumiputera only.
"In principle, my political stand is for UMNO to be a party that is inclusive, moderate and takes the middle path.
"UMNO must continue to fight for the interests of the Bumiputera and Islam, but should never sideline the interests of other races and religions. I believe this is the best way in a multi-racial country like Malaysia,” he said.
However, Mustapa added that UMNO’s current direction was no longer in line with his own political principles.
“There are no efforts that reassure me that the process of rejuvenation has begun,” he said.
Based on latest developments, Mustapa said he felt that it was getting increasingly difficult to salvage the “diminishing trust deficit and image" of the party.
"There are no signs that the majority of the multiracial and multireligious citizens of the country will once again believe in the party’s cause.
“Based on this, and after much reflection and thought, I have decided to resign as an UMNO member after more than 40 years of serving the party.”
When contacted, UMNO secretary-general Annuar Musa said he had yet to be officially informed by Mustapa of his resignation.
Mustapa's statement comes days after UMNO leaders, including president Zahid Hamidi, attended the Malaysian Islamic Party's (PAS) annual general meeting.
Their attendance at the meeting in Terengganu has intensified speculation that their friendly ties as opposition parties were being formalised into an alliance.
In a tweet, former UMNO youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin blamed Zahid for Mustapa's resignation: "Now we have lost a leading light of our party. A brilliant and good man. This is on you, Mr Presiden."
Additional reporting by Sumisha Naidu.