BREAKING MALAYSIAN NEWS: ex-PM Mahathir to leave Umno Party

Mr Mahathir, Malaysia's longest-serving prime minister, remains highly influential

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad says he is leaving the ruling party because it is “seen as supporting corruption”. Mr Mahathir said he was “embarrassed” to be associated with the United Malays National Organisation (Umno) because of its support for current PM Najib Razak. The former leader has been one of the fiercest critics of Mr Najib, who has been plagued by corruption allegations.

Mr Najib denies the allegations and has been officially cleared. Mr Najib was accused of taking $681m (£479m) from a state investment fund into his personal bank account. However, the attorney-general’s office cleared him in January, saying the money was a personal donation from the Saudi royal family.

The previous attorney-general leading the investigation into the fund was sacked last year.

At a news conference in Kuala Lumpur, Mr Mahathir, who has repeatedly called for Mr Najib to resign, said it was now “Najib’s party”. “I feel embarrassed that I am associated with a party that is seen as supporting corruption – it had caused me to feel ashamed. “I decided that I cannot be a party to all these things, so the least I can to do is leave the party.”