SEVEN former Umno MPs, including Hamzah Zainuddin and Ikmal Hisham, have become the latest lawmakers to join Bersatu, taking the party’s number of federal lawmakers to 22.
Hamzah (Larut) and Ikmal (Tanah Merah) joined Shabudina Yahaya (Tasek Gelugor), Mohd Faisah Mohd Fakeh (Sabah Bernam), Latiff Ahmad (Mersing) and Mas Ermieyati Samsudin (Masjid Tanah) to switching allegiance to the Pakatan Harapan party.
They were given their membership certificates before the press conference by Bersatu chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Mas had announced she was joining Bersatu in December.
The last MP, Rosol Wahid (Hulu Terengganu), could not make it to the ceremony.
The announcement came ahead of the Semenyih by-election which will begin on Saturday. The by-election will be the first contest between Umno and its splinter party Bersatu after the general election.
Hamzah, who is the former domestic trade minister, quit Umno together with five others on December 14.
Umno has lost 17 MPs since the last elections, leaving the party with just 37.
Dr Mahathir said their acceptance into Bersatu does not mean they are free from any previous wrongdoings.
“We will not offer any protection from previous wrongs, but we have accepted them in accordance with our terms,” he said at the Perdana Leadership Foundation today.
He added that the MPs will be treated as normal members and had not been offered any posts in the party.
“However, we may use them for certain tasks such as campaigning for Bersatu and Pakatan Harapan during the elections,” he said.
Dr Mahathir said this was to stem the rise of Umno which has begun working with PAS after it has a new leader.
“We find that it’s a new phenomenon for Umno to work with PAS, which used to call them (Umno members) infidels.”
However, he added, it was not new for PAS to work with those it labelled as infidels for political expediency.
“(As for us) we only want to struggle for the country,” he said.