KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 17 — Former Selangor mentri besar Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib is rejoining Umno, Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced today.
The Umno president revealed this at a special press conference this afternoon, where he said the former PAS and PKR member had realised his sojourn with the Opposition was futile.
“A former Umno leader that has left us before has made a decision to return to Umno’s fold.
“He (Taib) realised that the Opposition’s struggle especially in PKR was meaningless,” Najib said at Menara Dato Onn.
It was earlier rumoured that Najib might announce the date of the next general election, but this was dismissed by his deputy, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
Taib said he felt it was a “loss” for him to be part of the Opposition, especially when the Malay agenda is not prioritised.
“From the (Opposition) meetings I have attended, there is no discussion on the Malay agenda. There was no other way than to rejoin Umno,” he said.
Najib also stressed that Muhammad did not rejoin Umno because he was promised a seat or position, but of his own desire.
Several Umno leaders including Tan Sri Annuar Musa and Datuk Ahmad Maslan hinted that other former leaders may also be returning to the party.
“Umno’s door is still open. We are glad now that many of them realise it,” Annuar said when approached after the announcement.
Muhammad, or commonly known as Mat Taib, was Selangor mentri besar from 1986 until 1997, when he was forced to resign after he was detained in Australia while carrying millions in cash.
Despite the controversy, he still became a minister during the Abdullah administration, but was dropped in the ensuing reshuffle after Najib took office.
The former Umno vice president later joined PAS in 2013, before leaving the Islamist party for PKR in 2015.