President of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. (Photo: AFP/VNA)

Kuala Lumpur (VNA) – President of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has stepped down from his post following mounting pressure from within the party, according to Malaysia-based The Star.

He decided to entrust UMNO Vice President Mohamad Hasan with his presidential tasks based on the struggle facing the party at the present, Zahid said in a statement released on late December 18.

He took over as UMNO President from former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak after the UMNO-led Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition suffered a stunning defeat in the general election in May. After the loss, Najib resigned as chairman of UMNO and the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition which has been in power for 61 years.

Several UMNO leaders had openly called for his resignation in recent days as many UMNO members have left the party, citing a failure in leadership behind their decision.

Zahid has also been busy in court since he was slapped with 45 charges of money laundering and breach of trust involving the funds of welfare foundation Yayasan Akal Budi, founded in 1997, of which he is the chairman.

He pleaded not guilty to all the charges and is currently free on bail. –VNA