PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Veteran politician Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar has left Umno, saying that it is no longer the party he once knew and accused it of "caring little or none for the people".
Mr Syed Hamid, who had served as a supreme council member and Kota Tinggi division chief, alleged that Umno had become selfish and merely strived for its own survival and gain.
Mr Syed Hamid had served as home minister and foreign minister under the former Barisan Nasional government.
"Never had I thought there would come a day that I would abandon Umno, the party I was born into, the party that was selfless and instrumental in paving the way for the nation's independence.
"But seeing what it is today, the troubles it intentionally courted and the shenanigans its leaders are involved in, I can no longer stay and pretend that all is well and good," he said in a statement on Friday (June 29).
The ideals which the party once held sacred were abandoned and at best used as rhetoric for Umno politicians with vested interests, he added.
But the principles of the party he once believed in were still very much alive in him, he said, "and that ironically made me realise that I can no longer serve the party which abandons its principles or ideals".
Mr Syed Hamid also said: "To those who have not heard or are unaware of my position and support, I would like to state clearly and for the record that I am officially no longer a member of Umno."
On Saturday (June 30), some 150,000 delegates from the party's 191 divisions will vote for their new president, deputy president, three vice-presidents, 25 supreme council members and other divisional posts.