Bersatu welcomes seven ex-Umno MPs

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on February 13, 2019.
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PUTRAJAYA: Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) has welcomed seven new party members who were formerly Umno members of parliament (MPs).

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who is also the PPBM chairman, said the party has done its due diligence and has accepted them. However, their membership does not grant them any form of protection from past misdeeds, he said.

The seven former Umno MPs are Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin (the MP for Larut), Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad (Mersing), Datuk Shabudin Yahaya (Tasek Gelugor), Datuk Mohd Fasiah Mohd Fakeh (Sabak Bernam), Datuk Seri Ikmal Hisham Abdul Aziz (Tanah Merah), Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin (Masjid Tanah) and Datuk Rosol Wahid (Hulu Terengganu).

“Their membership of PPBM is not a form of protection against any mistakes that were made in the past. These members have come on board as regular members. Based on the terms that we have set, they cannot hold any other post.

“However, we may consult them to get their opinion on certain matters. In the event of an election, we may give them the chance to campaign on behalf of PPBM and Pakatan Harapan,” Dr Mahathir said at a press conference.

Asked if he is concerned about the commitment of the new members, given that some had previously voiced their opposition against other Pakatan members, Dr Mahathir said the past should not be brought up.

“I’m sure some of them have made some minor misbehaviour. But if we look into the past of everyone, we will not be able to appoint anybody because we have all made mistakes in the past. But we can’t hold that against them. It is what they are now that counts,” he said.

Dr Mahathir said he used to criticise Lim Kit Siang in the past and yet they are working together now.

Asked if he is concerned that the new members may jump back to Umno should things go awry, Dr Mahathir added that he himself would leave Pakatan if the coalition strays from its objective of serving the people.

“I used to be in Umno too and now I’m working with DAP, Keadilan and Amanah. If the party (Pakatan) does not serve the nation, I would switch parties too,” he said.