Malaysia’s opposition bloc rejects Mahathir’s former party Pejuang’s membership application

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Malaysia’s opposition bloc Perikatan Nasional (PN) has rejected an application by Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (Pejuang) to be part of the coalition.

The decision was made during PN’s supreme council meeting on Monday, which was chaired by former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin, also the chairman of PN.

“The supreme council has decided to reject Pejuang’s application to join Perikatan Nasional,” said PN secretary-general Hamzah Zainudin in a statement.

No reason was given for the rejection.

Pejuang was founded by former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad. It is currently headed by Tun Mahathir’s son, Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir.

Pejuang had applied to join PN earlier in March, and Mr Mukhriz said on March 2 that the decision was taken to ensure there is no split in Malay votes in the upcoming state elections.

Elections in six states are expected to be held by August 2023.

With PN’s rejection, Pejuang’s future appears dim.

Dr Mahathir founded Pejuang in 2020, and later founded Gerakan Tanah Air (GTA) along with several other Malay-Muslim parties in August 2022, ahead of the 15th general election that took place last November.

GTA is a coalition of Malay-Muslim parties and non-governmental organisations that Pejuang was a part of.

After the Pejuang-led GTA returned empty-handed from the national polls, with all its candidates – including Dr Mahathir and Mr Mukhriz – losing their election deposits, Dr Mahathir quit as Pejuang chairman.

On Jan 14, Pejuang announced that it was formally leaving GTA after its members came to a consensus at the party’s annual general meeting.

This prompted Dr Mahathir to quit Pejuang, and he subsequently joined little-known party Putra on Feb 25.

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