KUALA LUMPUR: Umno leaders have welcomed the return of the party’s former vice-president Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib back into its fold, saying the move will strengthen the party in facing the 14th General Election.
Selangor Umno Liaison Committee chairman Tan Sri Noh Omar said Muhammad’s return to Umno was a morale booster for the state Umno to ensure victory in the upcoming general election and re-capturing Selangor.
“Selangor Umno welcomes the great leader back. We are still close and I believe that Tan Sri (Muhammad) will raise our spirits in recapturing Selangor,” he told reporters following Umno President Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s announcement on Muhammad’s return yesterday.
Umno Information chief Tan Sri Annuar Musa said the return of the former party leader, who is also known as Mat Taib, showed there was awareness that the party’s agenda was much more important than the individual agenda.
“We welcome anyone who brings solidarity and political strength to Umno and the country. Hopefully, there will be more former Umno leaders who will return as Umno’s doors are always open to all,” he said.
Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said Muhammad’s action proved there was no other party which was sincere in championing the people, especially the Malays and Islam, other than Umno.
Selangor Barisan Nasional (BN) deputy chairman Datuk Mat Nadzari Ahmad Dahlan said Muhammad’s decision proved that Umno’s struggles towards religion, race and nation were still relevant.
Selangor BN Information chief Datuk Dr Mohamed Satim Diman said Muhammad’s political position and experience while with the opposition were seen as an advantage to BN to organise the workforce to be more solid and perfect.
In MACHANG, Kelantan Umno Liaison Committee deputy chairman Datuk Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub said he was confident that more members who had left Umno would return to the party later.
The former Selangor menteri besar for 11 years from 1986 to 1997, Muhammad, 72, who is also known as ‘Mike Tyson’, painted the country’s political landscape with his rise and fall in politics and his struggles to develop the Malays.
With vast experience in government administration, Muhammad was Batang Kali assemblyman for four terms from 1982 to 1999, and was appointed as Selangor menteri besar in August 1986.
He resigned as menteri besar on April 14, 1997 following a charge of making a false declaration in Brisbane, Australia on an attempt to bring out RM2.4 million from the country.
The case has not dimmed Muhammad’s political career as he was appointed Umno information chief and Selangor Umno Liaison Committee deputy chairman on Oct 26, 2004.
His 47-year experience in politics has become a yardstick for his appointment as a senator on Nov 17, 2006 for three years by Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who was the then prime minister.
Subsequently, Muhammad was appointed as the rural and regional development minister from March 18, 2008 to April 9, 2009, after a Cabinet reshuffle by Najib.
Muhammad lost to Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in the race for Umno deputy president in the party election for the 2008-2011 term.
After a ‘short break’ in politics, Muhammad decided to join PAS on April 22, 2013.
However, his membership was terminated in July 2015 after he was found to be involved in the Gerakan Harapan Baru which was led by former PAS vice-president Mohammad Sabu. Muhammad left PAS and joined PKR on Sept 11, 2015. – Bernama