KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 12 — A PKR vice president has taken Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to task for accepting seven former Umno MPs into Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) after the prime minister had said Pakatan Harapan (PH) will not take in Umno turncoats.
Chang Lih Kang, who is Tanjung Malim MP, said in a statement he was “appalled” that PPBM — a member of PH along with PKR, DAP and Parti Amanah Negara — had today accepted the former Umno MPs.
“It is even more shocking to see the joyful presence of Tun Dr Mahathir, the chairman of the party, who had firmly stated in May 2018, that Pakatan Harapan will not accept Umno turncoats into PH parties.
“It is rather disappointing that in less than a year, Tun Dr Mahathir is going back on his word,” Chang said.
He urged all PH parties to stop accepting former Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs as it reflects badly on the image of the ruling government, adding that the people had decided to boot BN out in the 14th general election in May last year.
“We should not go against their will to reinstate MPs from the former regime into the new government coalition. It is a sheer betrayal to the rakyat’s decision,” he said.
Chang also said he disagreed that PH can bolster its Malay support, especially in the rural areas, by bringing in ex-Umno MPs, asserting that the rural folk will not support PH just because they have more Malay MPs.
He said PH can more effectively secure the rural people’s support by easing their hardship and improve their livelihood.
“Moreover, these seven former Umno MPs are not joining PPBM because of principles. Most of them served in senior positions in the previous administration; some were even minister and deputy minister in Najib’s cabinet.
“They did not speak up for the people and the country when they were in power. Instead, they were accomplices of the corrupt regime! Even if some BN MPs are innocent angels, they should be remained in the opposition. Democracy can only flourish with the presence of strong and able opposition.
“Therefore, I urge the PH Presidential Council to make a firm decision to reject BN MPs from joining any component party of PH,” Chang said.
The seven Umno MPs who are now PPBM members are Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin (Larut), Datuk Shabudin Yahaya (Tasek Gelugor), , Datuk Abdul Latiff Ahmad (Mersing), Datuk Mohd Fasiah Mohd Fakeh (Sabak Bernam), Datuk Seri Ikhmal Hisham Abdul Aziz (Tanah Merah), Datuk Rosol Wahid (Hulu Terengganu) and Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin (Masjid Tanah).
Dr Mahathir, who is PPBM chairman, told reporters earlier today that they were joining as normal members and it did not give them any protection from past wrongdoings.
Two other former Umno members had also previously joined PPBM — Jeli MP Mustapa Mohamed and Bagan Serai MP Datuk Noor Azmi Ghazali — bringing the total number of PPBM MPs to 22.
PPBM had 13 Parliamentarians after winning the May 9 general elections last year.