KUALA LUMPUR, June 3 — Former Negeri Sembilan menteri besar Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abd Samad touted his loyalty to Umno in an interview with Utusan Malaysia published today,
Isa, who was also formerly an Umno vice-president, told the newspaper he never abandoned the Malay nationalist party even though he resigned as a member in October 2018.
“I have never opposed Umno. I only stopped being a member during the Port Dickson parliamentary by-election.
“After that, I continued to play a role in assisting Umno, including for the Johor and Melaka state elections.
“However, when Umno performed badly in last year’s general election, I chose to return to the party that I was a part of since 1972,” Isa was quoted as saying.
The Umno supreme council accepted Isa back last week with party secretary-general Datuk Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki telling reporters here yesterday that he expects Isa to use his influence to help in the upcoming state elections, even if the ex-Negeri Sembilan leader is not likely to be fielded as a candidate.
In the interview, Isa explained that he left Umno in 2018 to contest in the Port Dickson parliamentary by-election because the party did not field a candidate back then.
His opponent was Pakatan Harapan chairman Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who later won the seat in the 2018 by-election and is now prime minister of the “unity government”.
Isa maintained that he stood by Umno ever since, despite its declining support after the watershed 14th general election and despite the suspension doled out to him.
“Yes, it's true, Umno did take action on me, but at the same time I also did not forget the party’s [past] contributions to me.
“So, if not for Umno, who will I be? Perhaps just a graduate teacher with the highest position, or maybe the Education Ministry’s director-general due to my background,” he told the newspaper.
Isa said he is grateful to Umno for nominating him to run in past elections that enabled him to become an elected representative several times.
“I am considered a lucky Umno member as there are those in the party who never had the chance to stand as a candidate.
“Then I served as the Negeri Sembilan menteri besar for 22 years. I didn’t actually manage to be a teacher, but I made it as the menteri besar instead,” he was quoted as saying.
Isa said he understood the bitterness felt by the current crop of Umno members who have been given lengthy suspensions by the party
“I know they are angry at being punished, angry at the party president.
“I was also angry with Pak Lah for my suspension as I was also the number one vice president at the time.
“But in the end, I still choose to remain with Umno,” he was quoted as saying, referring to fifth prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
Isa said the suspended Umno leaders should accept the party’s decision and treat it as part of a life journey and to appeal for a revision or time reduction against their disciplinary penalties.
“Of course we have to be well behaved and the party will consider their appeals. It’s a normal process.
“I believe that not many sacked or suspended Umno members will join other political parties,” he was quoted as saying.
Isa said he returned to Umno so he can help the party as it is now at its weakest, with the elections in six states, Negeri Sembilan included, nearing.
“In fact, if there is an opportunity and I am invited to other states, I don't mind helping at all.
“All I want is for Umno to win,” he was quoted as saying.