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Ex-members wanting to rejoin Umno need to undergo vetting: Zahid

Ex-members wanting to rejoin Umno need to undergo vetting: Zahid

JOHOR BAHRU: Former Umno members who want to rejoin the party will have to undergo several stages of vetting, said its president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi(pix).

He said he respected anyone who wished to join Umno but it had to go through due process as per UMNO’s rules and constitution.

“Rosleli Jahari is an old friend of mine, since when I was in Umno Youth. Alhamdulillah, he has the awareness to return to the fold and I see him also coming down to help our candidates (in the Johor state election),“ he told reporters after attending a lunch function with party members from the Kempas state constituency here today.

He said this when asked to comment on the announcement by Rosleli, the former Bersatu assemblyman for the Johor Lama state constituency, that he was leaving the party and wanted to rejoin Umno.

Ahmad Zahid said Umno welcomed the intention of Rosleli and also former Bersatu Mersing division chief Laili Yusof wanting to rejoin Umno.

“I am confident that there are more Bersatu members throughout Johor and Malaysia who wish to return to Umno, Umno’s doors will always be open. Even though we know we have been hurt, but I hope my friends in Umno are also open-minded on this,” he said, hoping that the former members’ attitude and way of thinking would change and would not be “a thorn in the flesh” again in Umno.

Earlier, when met after a “meet-and-greet” session with voters from the Kota Iskandar state constituency at the party’s Iskandar Puteri Parliamentary Operations Room, Gelang Patah, which was also attended by Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate for the Kota Iskandar state constituency Pandak Ahmad and Lim Soon Hai, the candidate for the Skudai seat, Ahmad Zahid said the government’s decision to reopen the country’s borders is important to revive the tourism sector and inflow of foreign direct investment.

Ahmad Zahid, who is also BN chairman, said the Prime Minister’s announcement on the reopening the country’s borders was important because the tourism sector was the third most important economic sector for the nation.

“Tourism infrastructure in our country is among the best in the ASEAN region and it has tourism products that in my opinion can attract (foreign) tourists,“ he said.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that the country’s borders will be reopened from April 1.

The Prime Minister said that the decision was in line with Malaysia’s plans to transition to the endemic phase of Covid-19 and was expected to revive the country’s economy as a whole, especially the tourism industry which was badly affected by the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Ahmad Zahid, in his speech at the earlier event, said the selection of Datuk Hasni Mohamad as the Johor Menteri Besar candidate if BN wins the Johor state election on Saturday (March 12) was a decision of the party as a whole and not by any one individual.

“My decision was as a democrat and it was not a personal decision, it was a party decision. We brought (the matter) to Umno’s supreme council, state liaison committee and the party’s political bureau because Datuk Hasni has the best track record,” he said.

He also said that the other parties in the fray that have yet to announce their respective menteri besar candidates only showed their lack of confidence in winning the Johor election.

In a statement, Ahmad Zahid also said that Bersatu’s claim that he wanted to nominate Batu Pahat Umno division chief Datuk Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi as the Johor Menteri Besar candidate was just ‘cheap propaganda’ by the party to cover up its failure to provide the name of its own candidate.-Bernama