Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said that his party is willing to accept the return of former members who defected but have since regretted leaving the party.
According to a report in The Malaysian Insight, Zahid said this at a Muafakat Nasional Selangor ceramah held in Shah Alam last night.
He claimed that those who left Umno were now being shunned by the public.
“When they go back to their state or parliamentary constituencies, people ignore them. When they go for Friday prayers, nobody greets them” he said.
“In Islam we say ‘talak’ three times to get a divorce. We can say the first and the second time but due process must apply for the third.
“Umno is open if they regret it and are now being ignored,” he said, adding that these former members had quit the party but did not get the intended results.
No less than 17 Umno MPs, most notably Jeli MP Mustafa Mohamad left the party lost its 61 year hold on federal power. Most of them defected to join the Bersatu party which is led by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Aside from Mustafa those who left Umno include Mas Ermieyati Samsudin (Masjid Tanah), Anifah Aman (Kimanis), Noor Azmi Ghazali (Bagan Serai), Syed Abu Hussin Hafiz Syed Abdul Fasal (Bukit Gantang), Rozman Isli (Labuan), Hamzah Zainuddin (Larut), Shabudin Yahaya (Tasek Gelugor), Ikmal Hisham Abdul Aziz (Tanah Merah), Abdul Latiff Ahmad (Mersing), Mohd Fasiah Mohd Fakeh (Sabak Bernam), Rosol Wahid (Hulu Terengganu), Azizah Mohd Dun (Beaufort), Ronald Kiandee (Beluran), Abd Rahim Bakri (Kudat), Zakaria Mohd Edris (Libaran) and Yamani Hafez Musa (Sipatang).
The wave of defections prompted Zahid to temporarily step down last December and Umno enjoyed a revival under the leadership of his deputy Mohamad Hasan.