IPOH, May 14 — Sungai Manik assemblyman and former Perak state executive councillor Datuk Zainol Fadzi Paharudin resigned from Umno to join the ruling Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) today.
Zainol, along with over 200 former Umno members from Perak, submitted his PPBM membership application to state party chief and Perak Mentri Besar Ahmad Faizal Azumu today.
“This decision was made without any inducement, force or promises from any other party. I made this decision after taking the sentiment of my supporters and constituents into consideration,” he told a press conference today.
“During the election, I promised the people that I would serve them fully, and they were my priority in this matter.
“What is the point of being a leader if we can’t form a state government to help the people? We want to give full service to the people and help administer the state.”
Before this, Zainol and Tualang Sekah assemblyman Datuk Nolee Ashilin Mohd Radzi had announced their support for Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Faizal, while maintaining that they were still with BN.
However, acting Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi announced today that Nolee and Zainol were expelled from the party for supporting a government not helmed by BN.
Zainol stressed that he had not been swayed by any promises of positions, but had approached Faizal even before the state PH chief was sworn in.
“I didn’t even know he was going to be MB. He is my old friend and I supported him because I was confident of his abilities,” adding that viral allegations of him receiving financial inducements for his move were untrue.
Meanwhile, Mentri Besar Faizal welcomed the addition of Zainol and the former Umno members, giving them warm handshakes and hugs after arriving at the function.
“Don’t call it party hopping. To me, these people are here to save the state and strengthen the government.
“What is wrong with that? They are heroes,” he told reporters.
On a related matter, Faizal said it was “likely” that Zainol could be listed as a potential state executive councillor.
At the moment, Faizal and Zainol are the only PPBM members in Perak to hold state assembly seats.
“We will prepare the list for the consent of the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah, and I cannot (make any announcements) preceding that,” Faizal said.
But when pressed further if Zainol was in the running for the list, Faizal only replied, “Most likely, yes.”
For now, Faizal said Nolee had not joined PPBM, but reiterated his openness to more BN assemblymen joining Pakatan Harapan.
“Like the Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says, we welcome more members. But we hope they don’t come with conditions,” he said.
“We want them to come because they believe in our struggle.”