Zahid steps aside as Umno president

Beleaguered Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (picture) has relinquished all official duties to his deputy Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan.

Ahmad Zahid, who has been under pressure to resign from within Umno, said he leaves it to Mohamad to run the party in a bid to stop more MPs from leaving. However, he said he is not resigning.

“I am aware that some Umno leaders are apprehensive that they will be subjected to pressure, investigation and accusations similar to what I am experiencing now,” he said in a statement last night.

“In light of the troubles within the party today, I have taken the decision to entrust the duties of the president to the deputy president.”

Ahmad Zahid said his action would stop the controversy over the party leadership and that Umno members will focus on strengthening Umno.

“I urge that there will not be any more resignations from the party of MPs or state representatives.”

Ahmad Zahid’s announcement came amid calls for his resignation as several MPs and state assemblymen announced their departure from the party.

The mass defections have left Umno with just 37 seats in Parliament from the 54 it won in the 14th General Election.

Ahmad Zahid is facing more than 40 charges linked to criminal breach of trust and graft in court.