Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin said today that lawmakers are quitting Umno due to the current leadership failing to exert control over the party.
"Among the reasons why elected representatives are abandoning our struggle is because they do not trust in the current direction. There is no leadership to control them.
"If we have a leadership that has a clear direction, that can inspire hope among the elected representatives and party members that we can become a credible opposition, that there is no need to fear about being the opposition. I feel we can avoid this problem.
"But the problem now is a sign that today's leadership cannot control the current situation," he told a press conference in Sabah today, which was aired live on his Facebook page.
Khairy was in the state to meet with state Umno leaders as part of his campaign for the party presidency.
His main opponents in the contest are acting Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and party veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.
In his visit, Khairy promised autonomy for Sabah Umno, which will entail allowing the state to choose its own state chief, handle its own disciplinary affairs, and choose its candidates for the general election.
Yesterday, Bagan Serai MP Noor Azmi Ghazali announced his exit from Umno and intent to join Bersatu, which leaves the former with just 53 seats in Parliament.
Umno's Bukit Gantang MP Syed Abu Hussin Hafiz Syed Abdul Fasal will also be holding a press conference tomorrow to announce his fate in the party.