Najib Razak has announced stepping down as Umno president and Barisan Nasional chairman with immediate effect.
He made the announcement after chairing the party’s supreme council meeting today at the Umno headquarters at Menara Dato’ Onn in Kuala Lumpur.
Zahid had earlier told reporters that “Najib would not be staying on” as president.
In his speech, Najib said that it was his moral obligation to step down as the political party had suffered serious defeat in GE14.
“As the Umno president and BN chairman, I take full responsibility and I step down from my positions with immediate effect,” he told a news conference at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) here.
He added that Zahid would take over responsibilities of the Umno president for now as the party constitution does not provide for an acting president.
Earlier, joining the call for new party leadership – the most senior leader to do so – Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said change in its leadership must be done in a proper manner.
His statement came amid calls from within Barisan Nasional ranks for Najib to resign – particularly from Umno Youth – following the disastrous showing at GE14, with many blaming the former premier for their stunning fall.
Last night, Umno celebrated its 72nd anniversary at the PWTC in a rather sombre mood.
Najib, Zahid and Hishammuddin graced the event which was further marred by a brief scuffle among disgruntled members.
Najib, however, neither delivered any speech nor entertained questions from members of the press, who were following him throughout the event.
He was spotted entering a surau at the PWTC before he used the dedicated lane to the upper floors of Menara Datuk Onn after the dinner.
It was learnt that he held a closed-door meeting with top Umno leaders last night.