GEORGE TOWN: Former Pinang Jaya Umno branch chief Mohd Aswad Jaafar joined Gerakan in a simple ceremony at the multiracial party's headquarters on Saturday (July 11).
Mohd Aswad, 37, said 40 others were also joining the party, almost half of whom were formerly Umno members.
"Gerakan is a multiracial party, and I feel that we can work together on the same platform.
"I also feel that the party has good potential in the future," he said during the press conference at the state Gerakan headquarters.
Pinang Jaya was one of the branches in the Bayan Baru Umno division.
Aswad, who has been with Umno for more than 10 years, said he had not been active as an Umno member since the 14th General Election and that the branch had been disbanded because it was inactive.
He said he decided to join Gerakan for some time, but felt that now was the right time to do it.
Aswad, accompanied by 10 former Umno members, handed over the 40 application forms to state Gerakan chairman Oh Tong Keong.
The handover was witnessed by party president Datuk Dr Dominic Lau.
Oh said the new members would pave the way for the opening of a new Gerakan branch in Bayan Baru.
"Currently in the Bayan Baru division, we have 18 branches. With this latest development we will see the 19th branch," he said.
Meanwhile, Lau said the new members showed that Gerakan was receptive to all, regardless of ethnicity or religion.
"We welcome the new members to the party.
"We also accept anyone into the party as long as they are clear about the struggle and direction of the party," he said.
On a separate issue, Lau praised the Federal Government's decision to revise the poverty line income (PLI).
He said with the revision, more people would benefit from the government's assistance programme.
The PLI has been revised to a monthly household income of RM2,208, up from RM980 previously.
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