PETALING JAYA: Ahmad Faizal Azumu has called on Umno members and supporters to join Bersatu to better champion the cause of race, religion and country.
The Bersatu deputy president said Umno had veered from the cause of the Malays, which has resulted in several present and former leaders of the Barisan Nasional lynchpin being charged and even convicted of corruption.
“What we (Bersatu) offer is not far off from Umno’s original struggle, that is to glorify Islam, preserve the sovereignty of the Malay rulers, protect the Malay language, and look after the interests of the Malays.
“These are causes that we uphold wholeheartedly. We are different from Umno, which only talks about pursuing the cause of religion, race and country but acts differently by openly defending their corrupt leaders.
“I think there is no other option available to Umno members or supporters. Joining Bersatu will allow them to hold on to these causes,” he said in an interview with FMT.
Faizal acknowledged that Bersatu leaders, including party president Muhyiddin Yassin, were also facing corruption charges, but insisted that their cases were different.
He said that unlike Muhyiddin’s case, where the money the former prime minister is accused of receiving allegedly went into Bersatu’s accounts, Umno leaders who were charged or convicted had received funds in their personal accounts.
The former Tambun MP said the more important question is whether Malay-Muslim parties like Umno and Bersatu are keeping to their core struggles.
“As far as Bersatu and our partners in Perikatan Nasional are concerned, we are the platform for the rakyat’s struggle,” he said.
Faizal lauded Dr Mahathir Mohamad for leading the “Malay Proclamation”, saying the endeavour has brought various Malay leaders together to further the interests of the community, rather than those of any specific party.
He said this was more meaningful than if Mahathir were to simply return to Bersatu, the party the former prime minister co-founded in 2016.
“At the same time, being the distinguished statesman that he is, Mahathir is most welcome to rejoin us (Bersatu),” he said.