PETALING JAYA: Dr Mahathir Mohamad has defended the need for race-based parties, saying that in Pejuang’s case, it has to be so because it is expected to go up against Umno, a Malay party.
The former prime minister said Pejuang, of which he is the founder and chairman, is expected to contest in rural areas where the population is largely Malay.
“These people will not support a multiracial party. In the absence of any other Malay party, the rural people will vote for Umno,” he said in a blog post this evening.
Mahathir said that while there were other issues, race and money were “more important”.
And because Pejuang had no money, it had to depend on “race and its anti-corruption campaign” to attract voters.
He also said other political parties in Malaysia were race-based because Malaysians insisted on identifying with their country of origin.
“As long as we retain our identification with our countries of origin, politics and political parties in Malaysia will remain racial.”
In 2018, Mahathir defended the race-based strategy of Bersatu, of which he was then chairman, saying it was a realistic approach as Malaysians were still split along racial lines.
He said that despite criticism of the party’s racial outlook, the reality was that political parties still chose candidates from among the majority race of the constituencies they were facing.
Mahathir resigned as Bersatu chairman in February last year and set up Pejuang six months later.
Pejuang needs to be race-based because of Umno, says Dr M
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