SHAH ALAM,. The mass exodus of Umno MPs and leaders has not affected the party’s membership at the grassroots level, said the party’s vice president Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
In a press conference today, the Bera MP said even long time veteran leaders like Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed left the party on an individual basis and did not drag along his followers.
“If you look at the constituencies where the MPs have abandoned us, Umno isn’t shaken at all. Look at Tok Pa,” said Ismail, using Mustapa’s nickname.
“He was a state liaison chief, he was a minister for a long time and Jeli MP. When he left, Umno (in Jeli) is still strong. His deputy took over his position and there are no branches in Jeli that had to be dissolved. There’s no huge movement of Umno members in Jeli leaving the party.
“What I see, when the MPs leave, there’s no issue of party members following them. The same happened in Larut. The Perak liaison immediately went to Larut and they pledged their loyalty to Umno,” said Ismail.
He explained that this is a reflection that party hopping is not wanted by normal members but it was an individual and personal decision.
The senior Umno leader then slammed Sabak Bernam MP Datuk Mohd Fasiah Mohd Fakeh for joining the ranks of those who have abandoned the Malay-based party.
“He should realise he contested under the party’s ticket and his victory was based on the hard work and support of the Sabak Bernam voters. It is wrong of him to turn his back on their trust and support when he was a BN candidate.
“If he has any honour, he should vacate his seat and allow for fresh elections,” said Ismail, adding that the party will take civil action against Mohd Fasiah.
Ismail said he will give his support to the government if an anti-party hopping bill is in the works.
He believed that the only way to stop party hopping is through legislation.
Touching on the strong cooperation between PAS and Umno recently as well as the possibility of the two parties joining forces, Ismail said they work together due to both parties being in the Opposition bloc.