SLIM RIVER, Aug 12 — Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has revealed tonight the full name of his new political party: Parti Pejuang Tanah Air or just Pejuang in short, Malay for “Fighters of the Nation Party”.
In the ceremony to name its first candidate for the upcoming Perak state assembly seat Slim by-election, Dr Mahathir urged Bersatu members to support and join his new party, instead of staying with Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
“Those who feel that the Bersatu had a ‘blackout’ can now feel the brightness again. Because we have not been able to register our party we call ourselves independent candidates.
“That is why I hope all the fighters of the race in Slim can support our party’s candidate, Parti Pejuang Tanah Air.
“Those who reject corrupt and money politics can start by voting for our candidate,” he told hundreds of attendees at the ceremony here.
In his speech, Dr Mahathir urged Slim voters to fight against those in power, including his former party president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, whom he said he no longer trusted following the February political fiasco that led to the collapse of his government.
The two-time prime minister made the announcement in a blog post earlier that decried the betrayal of his former comrades in Bersatu, whom he alleged to have sold out for posts and money after the outfit aligned itself with scandal-plagued Umno and Barisan Nasional.
In the emotional pantun poem published on his blog chedet.cc, Dr Mahathir said Pejuang — Malay for warrior — was created to fight corruption.
The statement was clearly aimed at Bersatu and Umno, the two parties he once led.
Dr Mahathir had earlier named lawyer Amir Khusyairi Mohamad Tanusi as Pejuang’s candidate, contesting as an independent.
In a show of solidarity, Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders including Parti Amanah Negara president Mohamad Sabu, PKR’s vice-president Chang Lih Kang, and DAP’s national organising secretary Anthony Loke attended and spoke at the event.
Amir Khusyairi also contested as the Teluk Intan Bersatu division chief in the last party election.
Loke in his speech said PH will support the independent candidate as it aims to defeat Umno in a one-on-one battle.
“We feel the candidate Amir Khusyairi chosen by Dr Mahathir is the correct choice because this seat was contested by Bersatu before.
“But Bersatu now has earlier said that they don’t want to contest. So Pakatan Harapan thinks that the candidate must be chosen by Dr Mahathir,” he said
Earlier today, Barisan Nasional (BN) named acting Tanjung Malim Umno chief Mohd Zaidi Aziz as its candidate for the Slim state by-election.
On July 31, Pakatan Harapan (PH) said that it will give way to Dr Mahathir’s group which was formerly known as ‘Bersatu Blackout’ to contest the state seat.
The Election Commission (EC) has set the date of the by-election for August 29.