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PUTRAJAYA, Sept 3 — Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (Pejuang) aspires to win 36 parliamentary seats in the next general election, its founder Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.
The former prime minister said that if his party can do that, it will be able to determine Malaysia’s next government, claiming that neither the ruling Perikatan Nasional (PN) nor the Opposition Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition can take Putrajaya on their own.
“We do not think any of the two coalitions can win. If we can get just 36 seats, we have a position to join any coalition, but to join, they must comply with our conditions, then we will join,” he said at a press conference at the Perdana Leadership Foundation here.
Dr Mahathir claimed to have a list of 18 MPs already on its side from Sabah and Sarawak, but did not disclose the names.
He said while the lawmakers may not be party members, they are friendly and share Pejuang’s principles.
“So we will work with them and hope on the peninsula as well, there will be people who help us.
“The target of winning 36 seats is enough, then we can decide who will be the government,” he added.
Dr Mahathir stepped down as PM in February and lost control of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, the party he co-founded in 2016 after leaving Umno, when it became clear the PH administration had collapsed following the crossover of several MPs.
He subsequently found Pejuang, and insisted today the party will remain Malay-centric to ensure that Malay economic problems, which he said has been around since the country’s independence, will be addressed fairly.
He again said that only a Malay-dominant party can understand those problems and ensure that ethnic tension does not escalate into violence.
“Malays have more problems compared to other races. A solution that applies to all races can’t be applied to Malays.
“We are not fighting non-Malays, but problems faced by Malays can only be solved by Malays,” he said
Dr Mahathir said he, as an elder statesman, has seen how poor Malays, Chinese and Indians have been coping differently from their pre-independent lifestyle.
“When I was in my youth, I observed and I found that there are poor Malays, poor Chinese and poor Indians. Poor Malays improved a little but were not able to overcome their poverty.
The Chinese are different, they have the capacity to acquire knowledge for their well-being.
“Malays meanwhile are easily satisfied, they don’t want to open for example a business franchise. Only some would do that,” he said, alluding to Malay business tycoons such as Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Albukhary and the late Tan Sri SM Nasimmuddin SM Amin of the NAZA group.