Joining Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia will not be a walk in the park for former Umno members, especially the MPs and leaders, as their applications will be scrutinised and their behaviour observed to see whether they would fit in with the party.
Bersatu chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the party will only welcome those who are free from any wrongdoings or who are not ardent supporters of former Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak.
“We are accepting only those leaders who are not implicated and who have not shown very strong support for Najib. Some of them were cursing Pakatan Harapan and calling me names, and all that.
“Those people we cannot accept. It is not just freely coming into Bersatu. They have to be scrutinised to see whether they qualify or not,” he said in an interview with selected media organisations at his office in Putrajaya.
Umno is facing a crisis as several leaders, including its elected representatives, have announced that they were quitting the party to become independents, while several of them joined the component parties in Pakatan Harapan later on.
Dr Mahathir said Bersatu has imposed certain conditions on Umno MPs and leaders before they could join Bersatu.
“Some of them have met me and they gave the undertaking that they wanted to join Bersatu, but they will not try to get any position in the party…they will not hold any position nor will they be candidates in future election. And we told them to join Bersatu, there are conditions (they have to meet).
“No 1, you must leave Umno and become independent for a short while, and during that time you must show you are supportive of the Pakatan Harapan government and then you can apply, or you can apply earlier, but the applications will only be considered after we have observed your behaviour,” he said.
The PM said in the last general election, quite a lot of Malays supported Umno as the party is still popular in the eyes of some Malays.
“Those Malays must be brought out because if those Malays support Bersatu, Bersatu will become strong and Pakatan Harapan will become strong. So, that is our position. They (Umno MPs and leaders) can come in as members, they have a following.
“(But) We are not taking leaders like (the) two, three names, that have been mentioned.
“Those leaders, no way they can come in. There are cases against them, they would have to face the courts. We are not accepting them,” he added.
Asked whether other members of Pakatan Harapan have personally voiced their concern to him on the matter, Dr Mahathir said: “Yes, they are concerned.”
“(But) we are concerned too. We don’t want to give the impression that Umno is taking over Bersatu or any other party in Pakatan Harapan.
“We are very serious about vetting these people. They want to come in. I think in the villages they are still influential. If we reject them, we might be rejecting voters. They can bring some voters. It will strengthen Bersatu and Pakatan Harapan as well,” he said.
On the perception that accepting former Umno MPs is part of Pakatan Harapan’s strategy to get a two-third majority in the Parliament, the PM said he personally did not like a two-third majority government.
“I want a strong Opposition. But as you can see…the Opposition is totally shattered and everything is broken down. MIC is not functioning, MCA is not functioning. In Sabah, they are not functioning. The whole of Umno is split into so many parts…some want to remain in Umno, some want to come out. Some want to give up politics.
“There is no Opposition that is credible at this moment. Even when I was in the government before, when I was head of Barisan Nasional, I used to say we need an Opposition because without an Opposition, it is like having no mirror to look at yourself. You think you are beautiful, but actually your are very ugly,” he added. — Bernama