PORT DICKSON, Oct 9 – Dozens of Teluk Kemang PKR members today quit the party to join Umno, with less than 48 hours left before polling for the crucial Bagan Pinang by-election begins.
But some Teluk Kemang Umno members, too, are said to be abandoning the Malay nationalist party. The Malaysian Insider understands that hundreds of alleged Umno members from the division intend to quit the party and join PKR.
According to a Pakatan Rakyat (PR) official, the unhappy Umno members will hand over their application forms to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim at a public rally tonight.
But it was Umno that struck first today to get bragging rights for luring members from the opposition in what has become a common occurrence on the stump. Led by former division committee member Shahruddin Abd Hamid, 80 PKR members submitted their application forms to join Umno to Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad.
“For the former Indian members of PKR, we will follow up soon,” said an Umno worker at the event.
According to Shahruddin some 1,000 PKR members were expected to quit soon. The new Umno members were later given party t-shirts to demonstrate their support for the Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate. They pledged to ensure BN’s victory in the Bagan Pinang by-election this weekend.
4“Among the 200 are three Teluk Kemang division committee division members and a former PKR candidate during the 2004 general election,” said Shahruddin referring to Abdul Manap Shahardin who contested under the PKR banner in the Teluk Kemang parliamentary constituency five years ago.
Shahruddin had planned to contest in the Bagan Pinang by-election but pulled out at the last minute after he failed to find a local voter to act as his proposer. He had also announced his intention to quit PKR ahead of nomination last weekend.
“I was invited to return to the righteous path, I had been an Isa supporter until 2004, when I left Umno,” said Shahruddin in his speech.