PUTRAJAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Ex-Malaysian prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has formed a new "Malay movement" led by four small political parties, to contest 120 seats in the next general election.
The Gerakan Tanah Air (Homeland Movement) would field candidates in Malay-majority seats in Peninsular Malaysia, said its chairman Dr Mahathir at a press conference on Thursday (Aug 4).
The group includes Parti Pejuang Tanah Air that Dr Mahathir leads, Parti Bumiputera Perkasa Malaysia (Putra) led by former deputy minister Datuk Ibrahim Ali, and two Muslim parties: Parti Barisan Jemaah Islamiah Se-Malaysia (Berjasa) and the National Indian Muslim Alliance Party (Iman).
Dr Mahathir, 97, said there are also non-governmental organisations, academicians and individuals in the new "movement".
Only Pejuang has Members of Parliament in its ranks, with four federal seats including the Langkawi ward held by Dr Mahathir.
Malaysia's Parliament has 222 seats. The next general election must be held by September next year, but with speculation it could be held in the next few months.
Speaking about Gerakan Tanah Air taking part in the polls, Dr Mahathir said: "We will focus on the peninsula first. Although we do have a small movement in Sabah, there are no plans to contest there yet."
He also said there was no candidate proposed by the movement for the position of the prime minister yet.
The former premier added that the movement stood a strong chance in winning multi-cornered contests for the upcoming polls.
"Most Malays oppose corruption so we have a good chance because the people will want change," he said, in reference to seats controlled by Malay parties Umno and Bersatu.
Umno and Bersatu are currently sharing federal power in an uneasy alliance led by the third prime minister after the 2018 general election.
Dr Mahathir said his new group would not collaborate with the "court cluster" parties, in a reference to Umno leaders such as its president Zahid Hamidi and ex-premier Najib Razak who are facing corruption charges in court.
Dr Mahathir said the four parties in the movement are free from any corruption record.
Mahathir earlier on Thursday announced the setting up of the Gerakan Tanah Air movement which he said would ensure the rights of the Malays are taken care of.