Mahathir calls new political party Fighters of the Nation

Dr Mahathir Mohamad (in blue jacket) handing a letter of appointment to lawyer Amir Khusyairi Mohamad Tanusi, on Aug 12, 2020.
Dr Mahathir Mohamad (in blue jacket) handing a letter of appointment to lawyer Amir Khusyairi Mohamad Tanusi, on Aug 12, 2020.PHOTO: BERNAMA

Malaysia's two-time prime minister Mahathir Mohamad yesterday unveiled the name of his new political party, four years after launching a party from which he was recently sacked. The new party is called Parti Pejuang Tanah Air, or Fighters of the Nation Party.

"We don't want to split the Malays, but we want Malays to have a party that fights for them. This party is to cleanse the country of corruption. We name this party Parti Pejuang Tanah Air," Tun Dr Mahathir told a rally in Perak state.

He was speaking at the event to introduce candidate Amir Khusyairi Mohamad Tanusi, 38, an Islamic lawyer, who will contest the Slim state by-election.

As Pejuang is not registered yet, Mr Amir will stand as an independent against a candidate from Umno which is defending its stronghold seat.

Polling will be on Aug 29.

Earlier yesterday, in revealing the name of the new party on his popular Chedet blog, Dr Mahathir wrote: "Corruption destroys our race and corruption destroys the Malays. If you want positions and money, choose another party."

He said his former Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia party had been hijacked to save kleptocrats.

"If you want to redeem your dignity and defend our rights, choose our party, choose Pejuang," said Dr Mahathir, who turned 95 last month.

Pejuang will immediately have six MPs, one state assemblyman and one senator - all former lawmakers from Bersatu including Dr Mahathir.

 
 
 

The former prime minister who launched Bersatu in 2016 was sacked after he disagreed with its president, now Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, over forming a new alliance with Umno to rule Malaysia.

In a display of opposition unity, Dr Mahathir was flanked on stage by leaders from the three parties in the Pakatan Harapan coalition.

Since Dr Mahathir announced his new party last Friday, Tan Sri Muhyiddin's coalition has been roiled by several divisional leaders who jumped ship to support the nonagenarian.

Meanwhile, amid speculation of an imminent general election, de facto Law Minister Takiyuddin Hassan said it would cost the government about RM1.2 billion (S$393 million) this time round, because of measures linked to the Covid-19 pandemic. The last general election in May 2018 cost RM500 million.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 13, 2020, with the headline 'Mahathir calls new political party Fighters of the Nation'. Print Edition | Subscribe