More Than 32 UMNO MPs From The East Coast , Perak , Johor & Selangor Have Switched Allegiance To Tun Mahathir – Second Wave of Exodus

(The Coverage) – At least 32 Umno MPs have switched allegiance to Dr Mahathir Mohamad, FMT has learnt, with five of them ready to declare their exit from the party which is reeling from its biggest ever exodus in Sabah since entering the state 27 years ago.

Of the five, two are from the east coast, and the rest from Perak, Johor and Selangor.

“Once this happens, more Umno MPs are expected to leave their old party,” said a source close to the inner circles of the party.

Describing it as the “second wave” of exodus from Umno, the source said this would happen in stages.

Yesterday, 36 elected representatives, senators and division heads in Sabah announced that they were leaving Umno, effectively crippling the party’s state chapter which was established in 1991.

Joining them were former federal minister Salleh Said Keruak and former Dewan Rakyat speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia. Another federal minister, Kimanis MP Anifah Aman, had quit the party in September to become an independent.

Although former Umno chief and former chief minister Musa Aman was notably absent from the press conference by the outgoing MPs in Kota Kinabalu yesterday, it is understood that he had also agreed to the move.

Musa’s son Hafez Yamani Musa, who has yet to take his oath as MP after winning the Sipitang federal seat, will also follow his colleagues out of the party.

The source said the move by Sabah Umno had more to do with a general disappointment over the Umno central leadership’s closer ties with right-wing groups as well as PAS.

“Sabah Umno members and leaders have traditionally stayed out of such race rhetoric, but the noise coming from Kuala Lumpur is too loud for them to ignore,” a Sabah Umno member told FMT.

“There is no clear direction from Umno. Many wanted changes at the top but it didn’t happen,” he added.

Meanwhile, one of those who left the party said the feeling of despair was too obvious.

“We are leaving because we do not know where the party is heading,” he told FMT.

Although the four MPs and nine state assemblymen have said they are now independents, speculation is rife that their move was in preparation for their joining PPBM, which has yet to start its chapter in Sabah.

Fuelling such talk was confirmation by Mahathir yesterday that several Sabah Umno leaders had approached him before their decision.

But the prime minister refused to say if the party-less MPs would find a new home in PPBM, which he chairs.

“We have to see how they behave. If they are supportive and didn’t do anything wrong in the past, we will accept them,” he told reporters last night.

In October, PPBM Supreme Council member A Kadir Jasin claimed that as many as 40 MPs from Umno would quit the party to join PPBM.

Meanwhile, a Sabah Umno elected representative made no secret of the meeting with Mahathir.

“When we pledged our support to Mahathir, we told him we would join PPBM,” he told FMT.

Umno won 54 seats in the May general election, which saw the party’s fall from grace after six decades dominating the government.

Some of its top leaders are facing charges of corruption, including former leader Najib Razak, current party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, and former federal territories minister Tengku Adnan Mansor.

Several Umno MPs had already quit the party in the wake of the polls defeat, including former trade minister Mustapa Mohamed, former Puteri Umno chief Mas Ermieyati Samsudin, and Bagan Serai MP Noor Azmi Ghazali.