Mahathir quits Pejuang party he founded 2.5 years ago, says they rejected him

His son, Mukhriz Mahathir, remains as party president.

Fasiha Nazren | Andrew Koay | Syahindah Ishak | February 11, 2023, 07:58 PM

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Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has left Pejuang, the party he founded just over two years ago in August 2020.

This comes months after the party was trounced at the country's general elections; all their candidates failed to win any of their contests and lost their deposits.

Mahathir's signature was alongside 12 other former party members on a notice sent to Pejuang's secretary-general Amiruddin Hamzah on Friday, informing him of the group's resignation.

The notice was shared by fellow Malaysian politician Marzuki Yahya — one of the signatories — on Facebook on Feb. 10.

Continuing with GTA

"We would like to inform you that we are no longer members of Pejuang following the decision to sever ties with Gerakan Tanah Air (GTA)," it read.

The letter added that Pejuang's withdrawal from GTA — a coalition of Malay-Muslim parties — had "automatically removed" them as members of the former; Marzuki had been Pejuang's deputy president and is GTA secretary.

"We choose to continue our crusade with GTA," concluded the notice.

"Pejuang has rejected GTA, which means they (Pejuang) rejected me too. I have been with GTA and Pejuang since its establishment," Mahathir said, according to Utusan Malaysia.

He added that he'd left the party because he believed Pejuang's goal was "a little different now".

When asked about what he would do next, Mahathir said that he was focused on strengthening GTA and that he was open to working with anyone who shared the coalition's ideology of fighting for people, country, and religion.

A split from his son

The Straits Times reported that Mahathir's removal from the party indicated a split from his son Mukhriz Mahathir who remains as president of Pejuang.

The party has said that it will open negotiation channels with Pakatan Harapan (PH) or Perikatan Nasional (PN), Malaysia's ruling and opposition coalitions respectively, ahead of 2023 state elections.

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, the head of PH, has enjoyed a famously tumultuous relationship with Mahathir.

The latter also fell out with Muhyiddin Yassin, who leads PN, as Mahathir's PH government collapsed and he was sacked from his former party Bersatu.

Top image from Getty Images.