No rejoining Umno until party returns to original path, says Isham

Isham Jalil said as long as Umno continues to be led by Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and cooperates with DAP, many grassroots supporters and former leaders will not return to the party.

PETALING JAYA: Former Umno Supreme Council member Isham Jalil said he will not return to the party as it has strayed from its original path.

Isham was responding to Umno Supreme Council member Jalaluddin Alias’s statement that the party is prepared to welcome back leaders and members who were expelled after the 15th general election

“The party led by (party president) Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today is not the original Umno founded in 1946, but rather Umno-DAP, based on Zahid’s desire to bring Umno together with PH (Pakatan Harapan) and DAP.

“The Umno under Zahid today is Umno in name only. A party that was once glorious is now just a minor player alongside PH and DAP,” he said in a statement.

Jalaluddin had said those who are still loyal and aligned with the party’s struggles, despite being previously sacked or having their membership revoked, will be offered a second chance to rejoin Umno.

He said that in Negeri Sembilan, the state Umno secretary and divisional secretaries have been instructed to vet and consider applications only from those who have remained loyal to the party and are aligned with its struggles.

The cleansing process previously carried out by the party was aimed at eliminating those who were no longer interested in Umno and believed the party would become weak, he said.

In response, Isham described this as a “desperate” attempt for “Umno-DAP” to regain the support of the Malays.

Citing the recent Kuala Kubu Baharu by-election, he said PH’s win in six out of eight Malay-majority polling districts was likely due to Malay voters, especially Umno supporters, protesting by not voting.

It is not because the Malays there have started supporting PH as claimed, he said.

“They (Umno-DAP) have lost the support of their grassroots and they are worried. To stop this, they need to bring back the grassroots supporters who have left and reinstate the leaders they previously ousted,” he said.

He said that as long as Umno continues to be led by Zahid and cooperates with DAP, many grassroots supporters and former leaders will not return to the party.

Besides Isham, other prominent Umno leaders given the boot since last year included Khairy Jamaluddin and Noh Omar. The party also suspended former minister Hishammuddin Hussein and former information chief Shahril Hamdan.

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