PUTRAJAYA:Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has officially applied to become a member of Umno again and party president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak welcomed it saying that it would help revive and strengthen the party.
The simple yet meaningful ceremony also saw Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali and the couple’s son, Datuk Mokhzani submitting their Umno membership application forms, with RM1 fee attached to it.
“This is a very meaningful occassion as we witnessed the return of (Tun) Dr Mahathir into the party-fold. I would like to thank Tun (Dr Mahathir) for his willingness to continue his struggles through Umno.
“As a statesman, Tun (Dr Mahathir) can play a big role in efforts to strengthen the party as well as Barisan Nasional.
“Dr Mahathir’s decision to re-join Umno brings a closure to an episode in Umno. This is also an opening of a new chapter where past and present leaders of Umno can work together to uphold the party.
“On behalf of everyone in Umno, I would like to welcome the family back into the party,” said Najib after receiving the three application forms.
The new Umno president said that Dr Mahathir and Dr Siti Hasmah would get to keep their old membership number which was 000001 and 000002 respectively.
Dr Mahathir had quit the party in May last year, citing his lack of confidence in the party’s leadership.
Najib, who is also the Prime Minister said Dr Siti Hasmah,who had also contributed to the party and the nation, could play an integral role to restore Umno as women in the party played an important role.
He said Dr Mahathir’s return to Umno was a positive development, adding it would be an advantage for Barisan when the latter goes to the ground to help campaign in Bukit Gantang and Bukit Selambau by-elections.
Asked if he would seek advice from Dr Mahathir regarding party and national matters, Najib said he appreciated advice from everyone.
“I value the advise and views from all quarters, including from Tun (Dr Mahathir) and Pak Lah (Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi).
“It does not matter if there are differences of views but what is important is they are inclusive in the process of strengthening Umno,” Najib said.
Meanwhile, Bernama reported that Dr Mahathir had resigned from Umno on May 19 last year, saying he had lost confidence in the party which he had led for 22 years.
"Although I was out of Umno, my heart and soul were in Umno," said Dr Mahathir, adding that the criticisms he hurled at the party were intended to strengthen it and not destroy it.
Asked about him having rejoined Umno previously during the era of second prime minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein and rejoining now during the era of Tun Razak's son, Najib, as the sixth prime minister, Dr Mahathir said: "That family link was not something intended."
Dr Mahathir was expelled from Umno on Sept 26, 1969 during the era of first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman for having criticised the party leadership. In 1972, Tun Razak had welcomed Dr Mahathir's return to Umno.