Former premier Mahathir announced his resignation from the party in the northern Peninsular Malaysian state capital of Alor Star. The resignation is in protest over the current leadership of Mr Abdullah, said Mahathir's son Mokhzani Mahathir. Mahathir was Prime Minister of Malaysia for 22 years and led UMNO till 2003. UMNO is the leading component of the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN).
Local media reports today cited Dr Mahathir saying he would only return to UMNO when the leadership is changed. Dr Mahathir is not only disappointed with the big loss in the 8 March 2008 general elections by UMNO-led BN but also continued disclosures about corrupt practices of his government as well as those of the current government led by Mr Abdullah.
The latest charge, after formal investigations by the Abdullah administration, alleges Dr Mahathir's involvement in fixing appointments of judges in the Malaysian courts.
Political observers said the continued bickering in the ruling party, especially drummed up by Dr Mahathir, continued to cast doubts about the future of the UMNO-led BN.
Malaysian opposition political parties have formed coalition after the March elections and are claiming to be in a position to replac the government, with the support of a growing number of BN members of parliament defection.