KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Umno will proceed with its legal action against lawmakers who defected from the party to join Pakatan Harapan (PH) after last year's general election, said its secretary-general Annuar Musa on Tuesday (March 19).
He denied a report by a news portal, which quoted sources as saying that the Malay party will drop the suit due to high legal costs.
"I would like to mention categorically that the report is not true. I can confirm that all state reps and MPs who have left the party will get legal letters soon," he told reporters at the Parliament lobby.
"The party has agreed to appoint a prominent law firm... They (the defectors) will be dragged to court by Umno."
Asked to reveal the legal costs involved, Tan Sri Annuar said "that is not to be shared with the public".
Defections of politicians to other parties are not new as Malaysia does not have anti-hopping laws.
In the past, Umno has accepted defectors from other parties, most notably during the 2009 Perak crisis when it accepted four opposition assemblymen into its fold, which resulted in the toppling of the then Pakatan Rakyat state government.
Since last year's national polls, Umno have lost scores of elected representatives to PH, notably to Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), although there were some who opted to remain as independents.
Umno now only has 38 MPs in parliament after 17 of its federal lawmakers left the nationalist party.
There is also talk that Umno is purportedly cash-strapped since the general election after its accounts were frozen by the authorities following investigations into the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal.