Former minister Mohd Shafie Apdal is quitting Umno. Shafie announced this at a gathering attended by thousands of his supporters at his house in Semporna, Sabah, this afternoon.
In making the decision, Shafie said he had thought long and hard about it, adding how he had remained patient all the while.
“As such, I will resign immediately. I love Umno; but don’t insult me, don’t oppress me in Umno.
"Our struggle to defend the race and nation in Sabah and the peninsula will continue. I apologise for any mistakes or errors committed during my tenure as an Umno leader," he said.
On June 24, the Umno supreme council suspended the party vice-president, who has been critical of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and 1MDB.
Bismillahirrahmanirrahim, saya Mohd Shafie bin Hj Apdal, pada hari ini (4/7/2016), dgn rasminya mengumumkan keluar UMNO serta-merta.— mohd shafie apdal (@mohdshafieapdal) 4 July 2016
Najib said Shafie’s suspension was pending a report from the party’s disciplinary committee.
In his speech earlier today, Shafie defended his actions in Umno thus far, pointing out that he even went to show his support for BN candidate Budiman Mohd Zohdi for the Sungai Besar by-election on nomination day.
“And then it came out in blogs, that I made a ‘U-turn’. I came out with a statement stating how I have never joined any other party even though I was slandered.
“I was never in cahoots with anyone. All I did previously was for the party, but sadly, it was suggested that I be suspended from my post,” he said.
Criticising the Umno supreme council’s decision to suspend him, Shafie stressed that there was no investigation to begin with.
'I was not called to defend myself'
“I was not called to defend myself, I was not asked whether the thing I had allegedly done was true.
“I was supposedly in cahoots with the opposition; but I was not with (DAP veteran) Lim Kit Siang, I never even met him.” he said.
Adding how he had never neglected his responsibilities, Shafie also said how he had earned the post after campaigning and obtaining 100 percent support of delegates from seven states during the last Umno elections.
In an immediate reaction, fellow Sabah lawmaker Abdul Rahman Dahlan said Shafie’s decision to quit Umno was “not shocking at all”.
“It was expected. All the while, his movement was detrimental to the party,” said Rahman, the minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.
In a series of tweets, he added that Umno was not strong due to individuals but due to its mission.
“Leaders come and go. What’s left is the struggle. Umno is ready to face anyone who tries to harm the party.
“Sabah Umno won’t be affected over (Shafie's) decisions to leave the party. The rakyat’s support is for the party and not to any individuals,” he added.
Following Shafie’s suspension, BN's Sulabayan assemblyperson Jaujan Sambakong last week announced that he had quit Umno.
Jaujan also confirmed that Semporna Umno permanent chairperson Datu Eranza Datu Saribu had similarly quit the party, along with 19 committee members and various Semporna Umno grassroots leaders.
Apart from the suspension of Shafie two weeks ago, the Umno supreme council also sacked Umno deputy president Muhyiddin Yassin and former Kedah menteri besar and supreme council member Mukhriz Mahathir from the party.
The two are active in the Save Malaysia campaign, spearheaded by former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who continues to be Najib’s number one critic.