Over 30 Umno grassroots leaders have announced their exit from the Malay party, citing loss of confidence in president Najib Abdul Razak's leadership.
The announcement was made at a press conference by group representative Mohd Rafiq Naizamohideen, formerly an Umno Youth exco member, at De Palma Hotel in Ampang.
"We have all agreed and are ready to leave the party effective immediately. While it is a difficult decision, many of us have lost faith in the current party leadership that we once defended with our lives.
"We are doing this because Umno's struggle seems to no longer be for the rakyat, but allows and supports villainy and abuse of power in Malaysia," he said.
Some 70 Umno members were present at the function.
Rafiq claimed around 150 Umno members were quitting the party with him.
He added that he had yet to decide which party to join, but was considering Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia.
"We are all of the opinion that Umno today has strayed from its original struggle.
"The image of Umno and the Malaysian government led by BN has been sullied by various scandals and major issues linked to the Umno leadership," he said.
Mohd Rafiq also claimed that the Umno disciplinary committee was being used to purge political opponents.
"Prior to this, leaders found guilty by the Umno disciplinary board for money politics were only let off with a warning and not allowed to contest (in the party elections).
"Those involved in political corruption are appointed and retained as ministers or in other positions," he said.
Rafiq's move today was in stark contrast to his open letter last month.
In the open letter, he had appealed against his suspension as an Umno member and expressed his desire to continue serving Umno and BN in the next general election.
Rafiq was suspended for purportedly "sabotaging" Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak after inviting former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad to a talk.
Rafiq had questioned his suspension because the invitation was later retracted and the talk never materialised. - Mkini