SEREMBAN: Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad, who has been allowed back into Umno, says he has never gone against the party despite quitting five years ago.
Expressing his gratitude to the Umno supreme council for accepting his application to rejoin the party, the former Negri Sembilan mentri besar of 22 years said he never forgot what the party did for him even though he was “only a graduate teacher”.
“Although I left Umno in 2018, I never went against the party.”
“How can I oppose a party which has done so much for me?” he asked.
Mohd Isa, who submitted his application in July last year, said that even when he was not a member, he had attended ceramah and helped out during the Melaka and Johor elections.
He said his resignation came about because he did not wish to go against Umno which had decided to sit out of the Port Dickson by-election in September 2018.
This led to him contesting as an Independent in the Port Dickson by-election in a seven- cornered fight which was eventually won by PKR’s Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
Mohd Isa said he decided to officially rejoin Umno as many had left the party.
“Those who left would have not been where they are today if not because of Umno.
“They have forgotten what Umno has given them,” he said, adding that he was never upset with the party although he was suspended for three years for money politics previously.
Mohd Isa said he first joined Umno in 1972 and within six years, was given a state seat to contest.
“Then (in 1982), I was made MB and held the post for decades.
“I had only graduated as a teacher and the highest position I could have ever achieved without Umno was to become Education Ministry director-general,” he said.
He served as mentri besar from 1982 till 2004 and then went on to contest the Jempol parliamentary seat. He was made a federal minister after his win.
Subsequently, he contested and won the party vice-presidency but was later convicted of money politics.
The party suspended him for six years but this was reduced to three upon appeal.
He made a comeback in 2009 where he was picked to contest the Bagan Pinang by-election in the state.
Isa won the contest in a straight fight against PAS’ Zulkefly Mohamad Omar.
On Feb 3, 2021, he was convicted on nine corruption charges involving RM3mil over the purchase of Merdeka Palace Hotel & Suites in Kuching.
He was sentenced to six years jail on each charge, making it a total of 54 years. The court ordered the jail sentences to be served concurrently.
However, a High Court has allowed a stay of the execution of the sentence pending his appeal which is scheduled to be heard at the Court of Appeal on June 23.
He was also fined RM15.45mil in default 18 years’ jail.
Earlier yesterday, party secretary-general Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki confirmed that the supreme council had approved Mohd Isa’s application.
The decision was reached during a meeting chaired by party president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on Friday.
“I can confirm that the supreme council has agreed (to accept Mohd Isa’s application).
“The meeting ended around midnight and I have yet to send out the letter,” he told reporters at Wisma Umno here.
Mohd Isa’s wife Puan Sri Bibi Sharliza Mohd Khalid, who is Negri Sembilan Wanita Umno chief, was elated with the news.
“He is back in Umno and will be a normal member in the Bagan Pinang branch in the Port Dickson division,” she said.
Mohd Isa said he would work hard to ensure the unity government retains Negri Sembilan in the coming state polls.
“On paper, we should win but we got to work hard to ensure we can retain all (36) seats,” he said.