By ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN / pic by RAZAK GHAZALI
FORMER prime minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has announced a new splinter party under the banner of fighting graft and restoring moral principles, a breakaway move that could cause a four-way split in Malay votes.
The 95-year-old statesman said the new party, which has yet to be named, will be independent and not aligned to either Pakatan Harapan or Perikatan Nasional.
The new party is expected to be registered soon, with its members set to run in the upcoming Slim by-election scheduled for Aug 29.
“Our struggle is not based on money, but spirit. The party will be grounded on the Malay and Pribumi cause but others’ wellbeing will be looked after.
“Other Malay-centric parties that exist today have lost touch of their original cause and principles to keep kleptocrats in power.
“Our party will be inclusive and moderate and will show that Malays are principled and can be trusted, and that we are not treacherous, corrupt or greedy. We will not turn away genuine cooperation,” he told reporters at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur today.
The move comes after the High Court ruled to dismiss the civil lawsuit by Dr Mahathir and five other Bersatu MPs over their sacking from Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), which is currently led by PM Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
Also at the press conference were Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir and Datuk Marzuki Yahya, two of six founding members of Bersatu who were removed in May.
Mukhriz, who is former Kedah Menteri Besar, will be named the new party’s president.
Universiti Putra Malaysia political analyst Dr Mohd Izani Mohd Zain viewed the new party as an attempt by Dr Mahathir to extend his lifeline in Malaysian politics.
“He needs a platform the way he established Bersatu to challenge Umno. Of course, if it qualifies for GE15, it would split the Malay votes the way Bersatu did in the last election,” he told The Malaysian Reserve.
“However, if the partnership in Muafakat Nasional between Umno, Pas and Bersatu prove to be solid, it will be difficult for Dr Mahathir’s new party to break through.
“Dr Mahathir has a strong following; he has the backing of many loyalists. But it is difficult to see politicians or elected representatives switching sides in favour of the new party since he is no longer PM and he is not in government,” he said.