PETALING JAYA - Bowing to mounting pressure from within his party, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has announced his decision to step aside from his role of Umno president.
"Based on the struggle faced by the party today, I have decided to entrust the deputy president (Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan) the tasks of the president," he said.
Zahid, who is facing more than 40 charges linked to criminal breach of trust and graft in court, said he felt the concerns of some Umno leaders who worry that they might feel the pressure, or be investigated, with the allegations he is facing.
"To strengthen the party, and in the interest of all, Member of Parliament and assemblymen, necessary measures need to be taken," he said in a statement released on Tuesday night (Dec 18).
Eleven Umno MPs quit the party last week.
Umno won 54 MP seats in the May polls, but has 37 seats left after defections.