KUALA LUMPUR: Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia is spreading its wings to Sabah following requests from former Umno members who wished to join the new party, says chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Stressing that Bersatu's presence in Sabah was not aimed at wresting control of the state from Parti Warisan Sabah, Dr Mahathir said they were merely providing an avenue for former Umno members who do not wish to join Warisan.
"Warisan is not part of the Pakatan Harapan coalition, but we let Warisan lead Pakatan Harapan in Sabah.
"And at the federal level, we have three ministers and two deputy ministers from Warisan.
"This is an extraordinary arrangement," he told a press conference after chairing Bersatu's supreme council meeting here Friday (Feb 15).
He said Bersatu membership was open to former Umno members and others, except Warisan, PKR, DAP and Amanah.
"And for those from Umno, we impose three conditions. They must quit Umno and remain independent for quite some time.
"We also screen the background of individual applicants before accepting them into our party," he said, adding that the party was not into accepting newcomers by groups.
He said Bersatu would screen each and every applicant.
On the Semenyih by-election, Dr Mahathir hoped Bersatu would retain its seat.
On whether fellow component parties consented to allowing Bersatu to spread its wing to Sabah, Dr Mahathir said it was a party decision that did not require the green light from other coalition members.
Dr Mahathir noted that DAP and PKR contested seats in Sabah in past elections.
"Bersatu did not have representation in Sabah then, and we left it to (Datuk Seri) Shafie Apdal who set up Warisan," he said.