PETALING JAYA: Former Negeri Sembilan menteri besar Isa Samad’s return to Umno is not for the sake of granting him a seat to contest in the coming state election, a party leader said.
Negeri Sembilan Umno chief Jalaluddin Alias said Isa, who held the menteri besar’s post for 22 years, was a political veteran who advocated for the rejuvenation of the party.
“Isa knows that there are many others who must (be given the chance to) continue serving as Umno leaders.
“Now is the right time for him to support all the young leaders (in the party),” he told FMT.
Jalaluddin said Negeri Sembilan Umno was ready to accept former members back into the fold if they sincerely wanted to return to the party.
He added that the state party leadership welcomed the support and assistance of experienced politicians such as Isa, as it would only strengthen Umno’s presence in Negeri Sembilan, which will have its election for the state legislative assembly in the next two months.
On May 27, Umno secretary-general Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki revealed that Isa had been accepted back into the party. He said the former Jempol MP had applied to rejoin Umno in July last year.
Isa, 74, had quit Umno in October 2018 to contest in the Port Dickson parliamentary by-election as an independent because the party decided not to field a candidate.
Anwar Ibrahim won the Port Dickson seat with a total of 31,016 votes, while nearest rival, PAS’ Nazari Mokhtar, garnered 7,456 votes. Isa secured 4,230 votes in the multi-cornered contest.
Asyraf was also reported to have said that the party will not close its doors to anyone who wished to contribute to it.
Commenting on the corruption charges levelled at Isa, Asyraf said Umno maintained the position that a person is “innocent until proven guilty”.
Isa, a former Felda chairman, is appealing to set aside his conviction on nine counts of corruption involving RM3.09 million in connection with Felda’s purchase of a hotel in Kuching in 2014. The hearing has been set for June 26.
He was convicted on Feb 3, 2021 and sentenced to six years in prison and a RM15.4 million fine.