Umno defectors are welcome to join the Pakatan Harapan (PH) fold, but must be prepared to pay the price if they are found to be involved in any criminal misdeeds under the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) regime, Lim Kit Siang said today.
In a press conference after launching Malay Mail’s ‘100 Days, 100 Pictures’ pictorial book here, the Iskandar Puteri MP also said their move must be seen as an admission of past mistakes or it could be perceived as “an act of opportunism”
“I think that it is important that people must see it as an act for the Umno MPs… an act of atonement, an admission that they were wrong to aid and abet Najib and the 1MDB scandal, or it will be seen as an act of opportunism,” he said, referring to former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
“They must be prepared to fully support the programmes of Pakatan Harapan, to transform Malaysia from a global kleptocracy, to a leading nation of integrity, and of course those who are involved in corruption and criminal conduct will have to pay the price for it,” he added.
Lim said that the former Umno MPs must remember that PH has been working to uphold integrity and their defection to PH must not be seen as undermining those efforts.
Lim’s stance today stands in stark contrast to his statement earlier today, in which he criticised the defections.
In the statement, Lim had also highlighted a private member’s Bill he had moved in 1978 to require that Members of Parliament vacate their seat within 30 days if they resigned or were expelled from the party on whose ticket they were originally elected.
“Nothing disgusts the Malaysian public more than to see MPs or state assemblymen elected on one party’s ticket and then betray the party and the people’s trust by switching parties.
“There should be an anti-hopping law in Malaysia, but until there is such a legislation, the political leadership whether in government or the Opposition, should set an example of political integrity to ensure that any party defection by an elected representative is not purely for personal or opportunistic reasons, which would raise grave integrity issues,” the veteran DAP leader said in the statement.
In the press conference today, Lim said that DAP too would allow Umno defectors into the party, reiterating again, that they must pay the price for their past misdeeds.
“I think on those terms. Number one, it is not an act of opportunism, but a realisation that they must move forward towards integrity, clean government and good governance, and secondly, they are not guilty of any corruption or crimes,” Lim said, when asked if DAP would also open its doors to Umno members.
When asked if Lim would approve former Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia as a DAP member, Lim cheekily replied: “Let them perform first. Let them show themselves.”
He, however, said that there has been no application from Umno members as yet, to join DAP.