Tok Pa’s decision to leave because he disagrees with party’s direction.
Views of leaders from both sides of the political divide:
- Dr Mahathir: Too little, too late
- Khairy Jamaluddin: This is on you, Zahid
- Syed Saddiq: Beginning of the end for Umno
- Lokman Adam: Start of Umno exodus
Kelantan Umno Youth has urged Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed to vacate his Jeli Parliamentary seat following his move in quitting the party.
State Youth Chief, Noor Hariri Mohamed Noor said he was disappointed with the move by the former state Umno liaison chief who is also known as Tok Pa.
“If it’s true that Tok Pa had quit the party, Umno Youth urges him to step down as the Jeli Member of Parliament, this is in the view that he was elected by party supporters and the people in the 14th General Election.
“Tok Pa should not have resorted to such an act, instead he should have utilised his 40 years’ experience as a party member to help Umno regain the people’s faith,” he said.
In a statement released on Tuesday (Sept 18) evening, Mustapa, who is an Umno supreme council member, said the decision was made as he felt that the party’s current direction is no longer in line with the political principles he upheld and there was hardly any convincing efforts to start rejuvenating the party.
“Based on this, after much reflection and deep thought, I have decided to resign as Umno member after more than 40 years of providing service to the party,” Mustapa said.
The former International Trade and Industry Minister said that after the 14th General Election (GE14), he has made several observations on Malaysia’s political landscape, Umno, Barisan Nasional and the country’s direction.
“Based on the latest developments, I feel that it was getting difficult to salvage the diminishing trust deficit and Umno’s image.
“There is no sign that the majority of the multiracial and multi-religious society will once again trust the party’s struggles,” he added.
Mustapa said to be relevant in a dynamic national political scenario today, Umno as the backbone of Barisan, cannot depend on the sole support of the Malays and Bumiputras.
“My political principle is that Umno should be inclusive, moderate and a party that takes the middle path.
It is learnt that Mustapa, who is also Air Lanas assemblyman, has left for a short break overseas.
Meanwhile, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said that Mustapa’s exit from Umno had come too late.
He said it would have been a different matter altogether if Mustapa had left the party earlier – not when Umno has already been “damaged”.
“He has realised it, but it was a bit late, should have realised it earlier. He only left now that Umno is damaged. It’s okay lah,” he told reporters when asked to comment on the latest development in Umno.
Dr Mahathir said he is unaware if Mustapa will be joining any Pakatan Harapan (PH) component party soon.
“I do not know. He did not say anything about that,” said the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) chairman.
When pressed further, Dr Mahathir said Mustapa would have to first prove he has changed, should he wish to join PH.
Kelantan PH chairman Senator Husam Musa earlier suggested that he would welcome Mustapa with open arms after the latter is done with his “mourning period”.
Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin has blamed his party president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi for Mustapa’s sudden decision to quit the party.
In a tweet, Khairy said he had been vocal in cautioning the party against any alliance with Islamist party PAS but was attacked for this by his fellow members.
“Now, we have lost a leading light of our party. A brilliant and good man. This is on you, Mr President.”
Umno’s Padang Rengas MP Nazri Aziz said he sympathised with Mustapa and agreed with Khairy that perhaps Mustapa was not happy Umno was working with PAS.
“I understand his reasons and frustrations. I also believe in inclusiveness in politics. I wish him all the best and hope that one day he will return to Umno,” he said.
Umno Supreme Council member Bung Moktar Radin said he was “shocked and sad” to see Mustapa leave as “he is a true fighter who stood firmly by his beliefs”.
He said although in politics, leaders come and go, Umno must change its approach and cannot be seen as being “syiok sendiri” (self-indulgent).
“Many others, in and out of Umno, need the party to convince them on the direction it wants to take the country and its people in the future.”
Universiti Malaya analyst Awang Azman Pawi said Umno had lost one of its “good guys” and that he sees more Umno MPs leaving the party to join PPBM.
“Mustapa will likely join PPBM.
“After all, he was Daim Zainuddin’s former political secretary and Daim helped him become a senator, deputy minister and MP in Jeli,” he said, referring to the former finance minister who is closely associated with Dr Mahathir.
Awang added that Zahid must now act to restore confidence in Umno.
Another analyst, Universiti Utara Malaysia’s Kamarul Zaman Yusoff, had a different take, putting Mustapa’s exit after four decades in the party down to political survival.
“I also believe Daim had an influence on his decision.
“I think this is happening now because PPBM is seeking to beef up its ranks amid talk that PKR will join forces with Umno,” said Kamarul, who in the past has criticised Pakatan Harapan.
Yesterday, Umno vice-president Mohamed Khaled Nordin had suggested the formation of a new coalition called Pakatan Malaysia, comprising Umno, PAS, MCA, MIC, Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), Gabungan Bersatu Sabah and PKR.
PPBM Youth wing chief Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said he believed that Umno’s fate was “pretty much sealed” with Mustapa’s exit.
“This is the beginning of the end for Umno. I don’t know how long it can last now.”
“People like him (leaving) are a big loss for Umno.”
“Because people like Tok Pa (Mustapa) are one of a kind,” he said.
Syed Saddiq said the exit could also trigger a domino effect with party stalwarts leaving the 70-year-old party after its unprecedented loss in GE14.
He also hoped that Tok Pa who was a minister and former statesman would join Bersatu.
“We hope that he will be with us for the good of the nation and country,” Syed Saddiq said, adding that the leader was respected by those from both sides of the political divide.
“I have a lot of respect for him from the time he was minister to even now as a regular parliamentarian,” he added.
From within Umno, Datuk Lokman Adam claimed more of its leaders will follow Mustapa in leaving the party.
In a Facebook video, the Umno supreme council member “guaranteed” these would include those from his level up.
He accused these of being turncoats and enemy agents, adding that they were spread out in the party.
“Let’s not go too far. In our Supreme Council today, I dare guarantee there are those who are prepared to leave the party,” Lokman said.
He urged Umno to accept the possible departures as an opportunity to clean house.
Lokman added that an exodus would also allow Umno to more fully explore its budding liaison with PAS, saying this would allow them to win the next general election.
“Let’s not give up. Even if our entire Supreme Council leaves, let them be. I believe that with the new cooperation with PAS, we will get more Malay seats,” Lokman added.
The bulk of Umno’s top leadership joined the annual PAS Muktamar last week, to pay homage to the Islamists.
Mustapa first won the Jeli parliamentary seat in 1995 and had retained it in the last five general elections.
His departure leaves Umno with 50 lawmakers in the Dewan Rakyat.
A known moderate, Mustapa is considered one of the party’s most reasonable voices.
In concluding his statement, he thanked his friends who has helped him during his service with Umno, adding that he will continue to contribute ideas towards building a Malaysia that is to be reckoned with.
“I pray that our country will continue to be peaceful, prosperous and respected at the international level.
“Hopefully this new Malaysian chapter will create a political culture that is more mature and inclusive while placing governance and integrity as a priority. It is time that all parties, regardless of political affiliation, find a common point for the interest of the people,” he added.