by ASILA JALIL / graphic by MZUKRI MOHAMAD
PARTI Pejuang Tanah Air aims to do away with Barisan Nasional’s (BN) culture, which it describes as “shameless”, reduce corruption and ensure everyone enjoys equal benefits in Johor.
Its chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the shameless culture was rampant under BN’s administration led by former Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak and the upcoming polls should make way for changes in the state.
“We need to reject this shameless culture manifested by Najib and BN because we need to have shame.
“I hope Malaysians can shift from the culture brought by Najib which promoted that we should not be ashamed if leaders steal money,” he said in a press conference at the Perdana Leadership Foundation in Putrajaya yesterday.
Dr Mahathir underscored the importance of eradicating corruption as it hinders economic growth and hurts the people.
Besides denying democracy in the country, corruption also leads to the increase in prices of goods and causes suffering to the public as the money should have been utilised to help the nation, the former PM said.
The party also aspires to lessen the economic gap between the economy in central Johor and the districts of Mersing, Kota Tinggi, Tangkak, Pontian, Segamat and Muar.
He said the gap is too wide and proves that not every citizen of the state is enjoying its benefits.
The party is also focused on steering economic recovery by introducing new policies to boost growth.
Dr Mahathir said the country should no longer depend on foreign direct investment and instead should shift to domestic investment due to the many potentials that the country has.
“There are a lot of raw materials that we can exploit. We should reduce the export of untreated material and all value to the things we export.
“For example, right now we are exporting raw rubber. We should not do that. We should export products made from rubber, palm oil and even rare earth.
“Rare earth can be a source of wealth for the country if we know how to exploit its deposits,” he said.
On the Johor polls, Dr Mahathir said he will not attend the campaigns physically as he was told to be extra cautious with his condition, especially after recovering from an elective procedure at the National Heart Institute.
“I have recovered but it is not 100%. I can still talk, think and be logical but to visit Johor, I cannot although I would like to do so.
“My doctors said they cannot guarantee I would not be affected (with Covid-19) because of my age and because I have also just recovered from a very serious attack recently,” he said.
He opined that the Opposition bloc has a good chance in Johor, but the main issue is that they are still fighting against each other.
“For them, the most important struggle in Johor is to become the mentri besar (MB). Everybody wants to become MB.
“So that is the difference between them and us. We are only one party but we have good candidates. We can provide the kind of leadership that is needed at the moment in Johor and Malaysia,” he said.
Pejuang will be running in 42 out of the 56 state seats in the polls.
Dr Mahathir said many of the party’s candidates are not known politicians but they are nationalists.
“We focus on quality whereby the candidates are not involved in corruption or are interested in joining politics just to gain wealth,” he added.