KUALA LUMPUR, June 23 (Xinhua) -- The Malaysian political party of Gerakan announced on Saturday to quit the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.
BN had ruled Malaysia for about six decades but ceded power in the election to the Pakatan Harapan alliance led by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
"We believe it is absolutely necessary for Gerakan to embark on a new political journey with freedom, empowerment and assertion in pursuing what we believe is best for Malaysia and Malaysians -- an egalitarian and united Malaysia," said a statement released by the Central Committee of Gerakan, which is translated as the Malaysian People's Movement Party.
"Gerakan will play its role as an independent party in the opposition bloc to offer check-and-balance to the Pakatan Harapan government and will be a constructive opposition," the statement said.
The exit of Gerakan will reduce the erstwhile powerful BN from more than a dozen component parties to only four following the quitting of several parties in the eastern Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak.
The remaining component parties are also facing a shake-up, including the United Malays National Organisation, which will undergo a party election by the end of June.