Najib Razak steps down as UMNO president

Najib Razak steps down as UMNO president

najib razak umno
Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak attends a press conference to announce his resignation as president of UMNO on May 12, 2018. (Photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

KUALA LUMPUR: Ousted Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak said on Saturday (May 12) he has resigned as the president of the United Malay National Organisation (UMNO) and chairman of the Barisan National coalition.

"I have a moral responsibility to step down," he said at the party's Supreme Council meeting. 

"We all feel sad about what happened but as a party that upholds democratic principles, we accept the people's decision," he said, referring to the stunning defeat of the long-ruling alliance in Wednesday's general election.

Najib Razak UMNO
Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announcing that he is stepping down as UMNO president. (Photo: Melissa Goh)

Najib said his deputy Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is also the former deputy prime minister, would take over as the new president of UMNO, the main component of the alliance.

The party's youth leader and former defence minister Hishammuddin Hussein will stand in as deputy president.

Earlier, Zahid told Channel NewsAsia that Najib will announce at the meeting his decision to step down.

Speculation has been mounting about Najib's future. He has been accused of overseeing the looting of billions of dollars from sovereign wealth fund 1MDB in an audacious scheme of fraud and money-laundering. Both Najib and the fund deny any wrongdoing.

Malaysian authorities have barred him and his wife from leaving the country, amid reports that the government was reopening investigations into the 1MDB scandal.

Source: CNA/cy