Malaysian premier Mahathir’s son quits ruling party

KUALA LUMPUR, May 21, 2008 (AFP) – Malaysian former premier Mahathir Mohamad’s son quit the ruling party Wednesday after his father called for mass resignations to force the ouster of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. .

Businessman Mokhzani Mahathir warned the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) was heading for “annihilation” unless Abdullah stepped down to take responsibility for disastrous March election results.

But he denied there was a rift in the family after his brother Mukhriz, a senior member of UMNO’s influential youth wing, declined to follow his father’s example and resign from the party.

“There’s no conflict from within the family. The goals and the agenda are the same,” Mokhzani told AFP.

“My brother has decided to stay because there must be people who remain within the party to fight from within. I think my brother is in a position to make a difference within the party and I hope he does,” he said.

Mokhzani, one of Malaysia’s top businessmen, at one time served as the treasurer of UMNO’s youth wing, but no longer holds high office.

Mahathir quit the party on Monday and said he would not rejoin until Abdullah had left, causing a panic in the ranks as top members said