Tun Doctor Mahathir Mohammad announced his resignation from UMNO to a cheering supporters in Kedah. Dr Mahathir, 82, said he will only come back when there is change in leadership. He said it resigned in protest against Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi’s poor leadership. He was Malaysia’s Prime Minister for 22 years before he handpicked Abdullah for the job. Mahathir joined UMNO at its inception in 1946. After the 13 May 1969 riots, Mahathir was sacked for his letter to first Prime Minister Abdul Rahman criticising the latter’s handling the country’s administration.
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Tun Hussein Onn appointed Mahathir as Deputy Prime Minister and in a Cabinet reshuffle, appointed him concurrently as the Minister of Trade and Industry.
Mahathir rejoined UMNO and was subsquently appointed as Senator in 1973. He relinquished the senatorship post in 1974 in order to contest in the general elections where he was returned unopposed in the constituency of Kubang Pasu, and was appointed as the Minister of Education.