PETALING JAYA, Dec 13 — It is pre-emptive to assume that the Umno members who left their party will be joining Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said today.
In a press conference here, the Port Dickson MP also revealed that PKR too had been approached by “quite a number” of Umno leaders, adding, however, that his party would not welcome the defectors.
“Firstly, we are pre-empting the fact that they may join PPBM, which is not the case now, but whatever the consensus, we must appreciate the fact that this is a reform government,” Anwar told reporters.
He also requested that PPBM consider the issue of integrity when accepting the Umno defectors.
“We are committed to the Pakatan Harapan (PH) agenda. The issue of integrity and the need to continue to take effective measures must be pursued, but it is, of course, up to PPBM to consider these views.
“As a rule, I can only say for PKR. PKR has been approached. I do meet them, and in politics although some people express their displeasure about meeting, I don’t understand. They can join parties but they can’t meet?” Anwar asked.
He added that he would also not be discussing the Umno defectors with PKR’s leadership.
“We have not accepted, and I don’t intend to pursue this with the leadership to consider. I don’t think it is proper for me to name them. But I do appreciate the fact that they did approach, but I made it very clear to them that we are a party committed to reforms,” he added.
Anwar said he also advised the Umno defectors to allow PH to pursue its reform agenda, without “any hindrances”.
Even though Umno won a respectable 54 seats in the 14th general election, the party has been bleeding lawmakers, since its first-ever loss of federal power, numbering at 10 MPs so far.
Sabah Umno lost yesterday nine out of its 10 assemblymen, four out of its five MPs, and most of its state liaison committee, with the defectors pledging support towards Prime Minister and PPBM chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s leadership.
Previously, six MPs left Umno, three of whom — Jeli MP Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, Bagan Serai MP Datuk Noor Azmi Ghazali, and Masjid Tanah MP Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin — joined PPBM.
Another, Labuan MP Datuk Rozman Isli, joined Warisan.
PKR has 50 seats in Parliament, while PPBM has 16.