Mahathir's new party Pejuang submits application to Registrar of Societies

Mukhriz Mahathir (centre) with the new party Pejuang's application in Putrajaya on Aug 19, 2020. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

KUALA LUMPUR - Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad's new Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (Pejuang) has submitted its application to register as a political party, a move that it hopes will bring it one step closer to becoming a kingmaker in the next general election.

The application was made on Wednesday at the Registrar of Societies' (RoS) headquarters in Putrajaya, with the form handed over to director-general Masyati Abang Ibrahim.

"We hope RoS can approve our application as soon as possible so that we can take part in Malaysia's democracy," former Kedah chief minister Mukhriz Mahathir, who is Tun Dr Mahathir's son, told reporters.

Parti Pejuang Tanah Air means Homeland Warriors in English.

Dr Mahathir, who is Malaysia's longest-serving prime minister, on Aug 7 announced that he was forming a new Malay-based party, which will add to the crowded political scene in Malaysia - especially that serving the Malay electorate.

This followed his split with Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) president Muhyiddin Yassin, with whom he had founded Bersatu in 2016, as the ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition collapsed in February this year. PH became untenable when Tan Sri Muhyiddin and some 40 other MPs defected to form the Perikatan Nasional alliance.

Three Malay-based parties - Bersatu, Umno and Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) - are currently in the same bloc that forms the governing Perikatan Nasional alliance.

Pejuang is hoping to be the kingmaker in the next general election by denting Mr Muhyiddin's share of the vote. If Dr Mahathir can capture enough of the Malay vote, the two-time premier will remain a major player, with Pejuang as the power broker if votes are split evenly among the Malay electorate, as they were in 2018.

But first, Pejuang's application has to be approved.

"(Pejuang's) mission is to eradicate money politics, restore the dignity of the country and fight for the happiness of the people. We will not use money as bait. (We) just want to have the opportunity to find halal income," Dr Mahathir said in his blogpost on on Wednesday.

He added that Bersatu was formed to overthrow a kleptocratic government but has now been "infected" as money "has been used" to make "frogs jump".

At the RoS headquarters, Datuk Seri Mukhriz also unveiled the party's logo, which features the Jawi character "Pa" with three dots.

"Pa stands for Pejuang (fighter) and three dots represent iman (faith), Islam, and Rukun Negara (National Principles). We hope this will be the symbol of fight among the Malays, and generally, Malaysians," he said, adding that the logo also looks like a shield that can be translated to defending the dignity of the people.

Mr Mukhriz, who is expected to be the president of the party, said the founders of the party will hold a meeting to appoint 21 executive council members upon approval by the RoS.

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