KUALA LUMPUR: Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak says he’s resigning as head of his Malay party to take responsibility for the electoral defeat that ended his coalition’s 60-year grip on power.
A scandal-plagued Najib, who has been barred from leaving the country earlier Saturday, told a news conference that he will step down with immediate effect as president of the United Malays National Organization as well as chairman of the National Front coalition. He says his deputy Ahmad Zahid Hamidi will take over as president of UMNO, a party that dominates the coalition.
The announcement followed strong calls from the party for the 64-year-old Najib to step down over the disastrous loss in Wednesday’s elections.
The National Front obtained only 79 of the 222 parliamentary seats, losing power to a four-party opposition alliance headed by veteran politician Mahathir Mohamad.