PUTRAJAYA: Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (Pejuang) aspired to win about 30 seats in the 15th general election and become the kingmaker in the formation of the new government, Dr Mahathir Mohamad said on Thursday (Sep 3).
In a press conference on Thursday (Sep 3), the Pejuang chairman said the party currently has the support of lawmakers from East Malaysia.
“We are an independent party and we are not tied to either side of the political divide. But what we know is that a small party could play a big role. If we can get just 30 seats (in parliament), I think we would be in a position to join either coalition. We will give them our conditions and if they agree to our conditions then we will see.
“Now we already have about 18 Members of Parliament (MP) from Sabah and Sarawak who are not from Pejuang but are friendly to the party and believe in the same principles. Additionally we hope in the peninsula there will be enough people to support us,” he said.
He added that with 30 seats, Pejuang would emerge as the kingmakers in the formation of the new government.
“Perhaps 30 seats will be enough. We are going to be the determinant on who should be the next government,” he said.
Dr Mahathir unveiled the name of his new party on Aug 12, explaining that it was formed out of the need to fight corruption that is destroying the nation.
The former prime minister of the Pakatan Harapan government had earlier been removed from Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu), which he founded, after he refused to support the Perikatan Nasional government led by Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin.
Asked on how Pejuang which currently remains to be a registered party was faring in terms of membership, Dr Mahathir said there was a low number of registrations.
He added that about 70 per cent of the current members were from “Bersatu Blackout”, referring to the renegade faction of Bersatu.
Commenting on how Pejuang was going to set itself apart from Bersatu since both hold similar principles, Dr Mahathir said he would be “very selective” of the members.
“I will ensure that they are not entering the party with the intention of becoming a division chief or an MP or anything like that. The point of their membership would be to fight corruption and defending the rights of the people and the Malays,” he said.
READ: Pakatan Harapan and Mahathir's Pejuang have the same aspirations but not ideologies, says Slim by-election candidate
MONEY USED TO BUY VOTES IN SLIM BY-ELECTION: MAHATHIR
On Pejuang's defeat in the recent Slim by-election on Aug 29, Dr Mahathir claimed that Mr Muhyiddin's government had “used money to buy votes” in the Barisan Nasional (BN) stronghold.
“There were vans to ferry voters and money was given to them there. Then they were expected to take photos of their fingers (marked with indelible ink) along with their ballot paper where the vote was cast for the Barisan candidate. After presenting the evidence they were given the balance of the money,” he claimed.
Pejuang’s candidate Amir Khusyairi Mohd Tanusi, who stood as an independent candidate as the party is not registered yet, only secured 2,115 votes against BN candidate Mohd Zaidi Aziz's 13,060 votes.
Dr Mahathir said although he had expected to lose in the Slim by-election, he anticipated at least 4,000 to 5,000 votes for his candidate.
“But bribery was everywhere,” he claimed.