UMNO Members Are Welcome To Join Pakatan Harapan, Says Tun M And Wan Azizah
United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) members will be accepted into Pakatan Harapan (PH) as long as they become "independent" candidates first, said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad at a recent press conference
"There are 1,000 applications a day received from people interested in becoming our members. Among them are UMNO members," he said at Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia's (PPBM) headquarters on Monday, 28 May.
He added that they will be able to join under certain conditions.
"They have to quit the party first and be unattached. Then they have to state their stand on the Pakatan Harapan government and then we will consider their entry," he was quoted as saying.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail also agreed with the idea as long as everyone is on the same page
"We are always excited if anyone wants to join us. We want all Malaysians to come together to rebuild the nation that we love anyway.
"Admittedly, there are differences in opinion but when we reach a point where the people have the final say, we only care about having a solid government for all," she told reporters after an event on 29 May, according to Malay Mail.
What is important is that everyone works towards the agenda of building the nation, she added.
"We have reached a point where it is now the rakyat that decides. We must follow through with that," she said.
However, not everyone fully agreed with the acceptance offered by the Prime Minister and Deputy PM
Following Tun M's statement, DAP politician Charles Santiago said that the people might lose confidence in Pakatan Harapan if former UMNO or Barisan Nasional (BN) members are accepted into the coalition.
"If people really want to join us, they should wait for at least three years to show their sincerity. The people are watching us, if we slip up like this, they will start to doubt us," he told Free Malaysia Today.
Thomas Fann, chairman of ENGAGE, a non-governmental organisation which had previously voiced concern over party hoppers, also said that it must be remembered that during the polls on 9 May, voters rejected the "toxic politics of UMNO."
"We don't want this type of politics to be imported into Pakatan Harapan through PPBM, because then this toxic culture will become part of PH."
He added that UMNO members quitting BN to become independent before joining PH is essentially the same as party hopping. As a result, PH should have a two-year moratorium before accepting former BN members and elected representatives, he stated.