PUTRAJAYA: Umno members can only be accepted into Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) if they are free from the “cash is king” mentality, said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The Prime Minister, who is also Bersatu chairman, said those from Umno who wanted to join his party must prove that they no longer had ties to their old party.
“They must also support the good initiatives done by Bersatu. Once we feel comfortable with them and their behaviour, we’ll accept them.
“And former Umno members cannot enter Bersatu in a large group with the intention of controlling the party.
“Bersatu is not to be controlled by any individual. It is controlled by the party struggle,” Dr Mahathir said in a video posted on Bersatu’s Facebook page.
He added that Umno was once a well-respected political party, but it had strayed from its direction due to the “cash is king” culture.
“If you want to leave Umno and join other parties, you must drop the old habits and behaviour that made people of all races feel disgusted with Umno.
Several former Umno leaders have joined Bersatu since the party won the 14th General Election under Pakatan Harapan.
Among them are former Cabinet ministers Tan Sri Dr Rais Yatim, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed and Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar.
Umno veteran Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz is the latest to express her intention to join Bersatu.
Bersatu supreme council member A. Kadir Jasin indicated recently that about 40 Umno MPs might quit the party and join Bersatu.
Dr Mahathir pointed out that Bersatu was a party founded by former Umno members who were disgruntled with the leadership of the “old regime”.
“If Umno members had kept firm to the true principles of the party back then, they would have left when they saw Umno leaders being sacked by the party for being honest and straight.
“But because of the ‘cash is king’ culture, they stayed. They were willing to sell the Umno struggle.
“Umno was founded not for any individual, be it Datuk Onn Jaafar, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Abdul Razak, Tun Hussein Onn or me. The party was there for the race, religion and country.
“But what has happened is that Umno is only there for its leaders. Its followers saw no problem when their leaders were clearly doing something bad,” said Dr Mahathir.