Daim: Only right for Pribumi to open doors to Umno members

(The Star) – Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia should welcome Umno members who want to join the party, says Tun Daim Zainuddin.

“We should allow new members to join Pribumi. Remember, Pribumi was established to attract disillusioned Umno members.

“Now people are saying Pribumi must not allow new people (and Umno members) to join. In the long run, Pribumi will suffer,” he told The Star in an interview.

Daim was asked to respond to comments that Pribumi would become “a reincarnated Umno” if more members from the latter were allowed in.

Daim said Pribumi has only 12 MPs at present.

“It needs soldiers and mid-level managers. Pribumi can’t do it if it does not have enough people as members,” said the former Umno strongman and ex-finance minister, who now chairs the Council of Eminent Persons (CEP).

Daim was sacked from Umno after backing Pakatan Harapan just days before GE14.

The 80-year-old businessman-politician said Pribumi is not the only party facing such an issue.

“How about other parties in Pakatan? Can PAS members join Parti Amanah Negara? Will they be allowed? Can MCA members join DAP or PKR?” he asked.

Daim pointed out that Pakatan chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Pribumi president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and his deputy Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir and many others left Umno based on principles.

“They did not agree with Umno and its leadership. They fought Umno. Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim also left and fought Umno.

“If present Umno members want to leave the party and support Pakatan’s struggle, I see no reason to object,” he said.

Daim also took a swipe at Umno veterans who did not advise or criticise former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his Cabinet over the 1MDB scandal.

“Where were they when the party needed them most? By their silence, they were endorsing Najib’s wrongdoings. Their silence destroyed Umno.

“Pak Lah (Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi), Umno’s ‘Mr Clean’, came out supporting Najib with his ‘winter of discontent’ statement,” he said.

Elaborating, Daim said: “I am Najib and Pak Lah’s friend. On 1MDB, I told Najib that this was serious. I sent people to see him to advice him to resign.

“I am disappointed with the previous leaders and Cabinet. They were completely detached from the rakyat, living in a different world.”

Daim applauded the actions of former minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, who campaigned for Pakatan.

“Rafidah was very brave and campaigned for a change of government. She was told she was jealous of Najib’s achievements. That was a silly joke,” he said.