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I’ve burned bridges with Umno, says Dr Mahathir

 | May 23, 2017

The former leader says there is no way for him to return to a party he describes as corrupt to the core.

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PUTRAJAYA: Although he has a history of being in and out of Umno, Dr Mahathir Mohamad said this time, he had left the party he led for two decades for good.

“I have burned the bridges,” he said in exclusive interview with FMT recently.

He was asked if he still had a place for Umno despite quitting the party for the second time since his retirement in 2003.

In 2008, Mahathir who had openly called for the removal of then prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, announced he was quitting the party until there was a change in leadership.

The following year, he rejoined Umno after Najib Razak took over from Abdullah.

“Although I was out of Umno, my heart and soul were in Umno,” he had then said at a meeting with Najib to submit his application form.

But Mahathir, who together with other former Umno leaders formed Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), said this time it was different.

Mahathir was expelled from Umno in 1969 by then prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman. He was later welcomed back to party fold three years later under the second prime minister, Tun Abdul Razak.

“I have been out of the party thrice,” he told FMT in the hour-long interview.

“But I did not join other parties. I did not support other parties. It was the same case when I left the party during Abdullah’s time.”

“This time, not only am I out of Umno, but I also oppose Umno and formed a new party to bring down Umno. Umno is ruined under Najib. There is no use in opposing only Najib. We have to discard Umno. Because the whole of Umno is corrupt,” he said.

Mahathir and his wife Dr Siti Hasmah Ali quit Umno in March last year to protest Najib’s handling of the 1MDB affair, including allegations that some RM2.6 billion of money linked to the state firm had made its way into the prime minister’s personal accounts.

Following that, Umno vice-president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said he was confident that the former leader would return to the party.

“I believe he will reconsider his decision when the time comes,” Zahid had said on the same day of Mahathir’s announcement.

But Mahathir said there was no such plan.

“No way, Umno is ruined,” he said.


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