‘Choose Pejuang’: In blog post decrying corruption, Dr Mahathir announces his new party’s name

Dr Mahathir said Pejuang — Malay for warrior — was created to fight corruption. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Dr Mahathir said Pejuang — Malay for warrior — was created to fight corruption. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 12 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has named his new party Pejuang.

The two-time prime minister made the announcement in a blog post 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 also suggested the Malays have long suffered from the effects of corruption because their leaders valued money and power over the interests of their community.

“We formed a party to save ourselves. [Instead] our party was hijacked to save our foes,” the Langkawi MP wrote.

“That was Bersatu. Set up to destroy the kleptocrats. Now it’s changed to save the kleptocrats.

“For what? For posts and money,” he added.

Dr Mahathir and five other MPs were sacked from Bersatu in the aftermath of a political crisis that befell the Pakatan Harapan government in February.

The Umno splinter party, which he founded with current Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, is now part of the ruling Perikatan Nasional pact together with Barisan Nasional, PAS, and Sarawak’s GPS.

In a press conference to announce the formation of Pejuang last week, Dr Mahathir said his new party will be independent and centred on fighting corruption and kleptocracy.

In the blog post to announce Pejuang, the two-time prime minister suggested the country’s ethnic Malays could face displacement if they continue to support corrupt leaders, a message he had repeatedly asserted in the past.

“The struggle today is now about “what do I get”,” he wrote.

“Easy way. Just accept what is offered. If there is anything that can destroy the Malays. Prioritising ‘what do I get’ is a way to destroy the Malays,” he added.

“Why? Because fixating on “what do I get” betrays Malay interests.”

The two-time former prime minister said last week he hoped Pejuang could become “kingmaker” in the next general election.

But analysts said the new party could struggle to stand out in a crowded field.

Some have suggested that Pejuang is no more than a vehicle to feed the 95-year-old’s ego and personal ambitions.

The Langkawi MP, however, insisted in his blog posting that Pejuang was formed to defend Malay interests.

“Corruption is what destroys the Malays,” he wrote.

“If you want posts and money, choose a different party. If you want to redeem your dignity.

“If you want to defend your rights. Choose our party. Choose PEJUANG,” he wrote

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