I’m never going back to Umno, says Dr Mahathir

Former prime minister claims Umno has been destroyed and has strayed from its core struggles, blaming it all on Prime Minister Najib Razak.

(FMT) – Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has firmly ruled out ever returning to the party which he had once helmed for more than two decades.

The PPBM chairman said this in a video posted on his party PPBM’s Facebook page, adding it would not happen even if current Umno president and Prime Minister Najib Razak was ousted.

“Umno is no longer about the struggle for race, religion and the country. It has been ruined. So, I will not be going back to the party even if Najib was no more,” Mahathir said, elaborating on how the party has been destroyed and has strayed from its core struggles, blaming it all on Najib.

The minute-long video with a question for a title – “Tun Dr Mahathir akan kembali ke Umno jika Najib Razak bukan lagi Perdana Menteri? (Will Mahathir return to Umno if Najib Razak was no longer prime minister?) – was aimed at dispelling the doubts of many in the opposition ranks who fear that the Pakatan Harapan chairman will abandon the opposition cause and return to Umno like he did after his immediate successor, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, stepped down in 2009.

In February last year, Mahathir quit Umno for the second time in eight years over his dissatisfaction against the Najib administration, following the ousting of his son Mukhriz as Kedah menteri besar.

It was the third time that Mahathir had exited the party. In 1969, he was expelled in the aftermath of the May 13 racial riots and was only readmitted to the party in 1972, thanks to the intervention of then prime minister Abdul Razak Hussein, who is also Najib’s father.

In May 2008, Mahathir quit the party in a show of disapproval of the Abdullah administration. His efforts to force his successor out of office succeeded the following year, after the 92-year-old statesman had also lobbied on the sidelines for Najib to become the new prime minister.

Following his exit last year, he formed PPBM with his son Mukhriz, and, former deputy prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin, both of whom were sacked by Umno in June last year.

In March this year, PPBM joined the Pakatan Harapan coalition, which was formed by PKR, DAP and Amanah.

The opposition coalition is now seeking formal registration by the Registrar of Societies in order to contest in the next general election (GE14) under one banner and logo.

In line with that, PH also named a new leadership line-up with Anwar Ibrahim as defacto leader, Mahathir as chairman and PKR’s Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as president.

The coalition also named Muhyiddin, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and Amanah president Mohamad Sabu as deputy presidents.