Mahathir launches new political party Pejuang

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

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's two-time prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on Wednesday (Aug 12) unveiled the name of his new political party, four years after launching another 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," Dr Mahathir told a political rally in Perak state.

He was speaking at an event to introduce a candidate who will contest the Slim state by-election. As Pejuang isn't registered yet, Islamic lawyer Amir Khusyairi Mohamad Tanusi, 38, will stand as an independent.

He is facing off against a candidate from Umno, the 43-year old acting Tanjung Malim Umno's division chief Mohd Zaidi Aziz. Umno is defending its stronghold Slim seat following the death of its assemblyman. Polling will be on Aug 29.

Earlier on Wednesday, in revealing the name of the new party Pejuang on his popular Chedet blog, he 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 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 just last month.

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

Dr Mahathir who launched Bersatu in 2016 was sacked after he disagreed with its president, now Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, to form an alliance with Umno to rule Malaysia.

Displaying opposition unity, Dr Mahathir on Wednesday was flanked on stage in Perak by leaders from the three parties in the Pakatan Harapan coalition.

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Since Mahathir announced his new party last Friday, Tan Sri Muhyiddin's coalition has been roiled by several divisional leaders and dozens of party members jumping ship to support the former PM.

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 around, because of measures linked to the Covid-19 pandemic. The last general election in May 2018 cost RM500 million.

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