Parti Pribumi seeks to break into rural heartland using Dr M, Muhyiddin and Mukhriz

Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman

(MMO) – With Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir at the forefront, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia is confident it can grab a sizeable chunk of the rural heartland at the next general elections.

Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, one of its seven founding members, said today the newest Umno splinter party is seeking to tap the crucial Malay votes that has so far eluded other Opposition parties like PKR and even PAS.

“The difference is Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad are well regarded among the rural communities and they have given back to the communities for a very, very long time.

“So I think in terms of community stature, these individuals are very well respected,” Syed Saddiq told The Star Online in an interview.

The former national debater also said the new Bumiputera party that will be helmed by former Umno Number Two Muhyiddin as its president will be able to punch through the Malay strongholds that have been long dominated by Umno.

“The party will focus on a rural, Malay-dominant voter base. Areas where even PKR and PAS cannot penetrate,” he was quoted saying.

All eyes have been on Parti Pribumi ever since former prime minister Dr Mahathir announced a few weeks back that he would be helping to found a new political party to take on the mighty Barisan Nasional (BN), anchored by Umno, at the next elections due in 2018.

However, critics have also questioned Parti Pribumi’s controversial membership policy that effectively relegates its non-Bumiputera to the second-tier.

In response, Syed Saddiq said his party is only providing a “middle ground” between a reform-based agenda while allowing for those who want to remain intact with their racial identity.

“That’s where the middle ground comes in. Acknowledging the constituencies in which we will most probably be contesting. And there are still vast majorities of Malaysians, or Bumiputras [sic], who still want to maintain their racial identity while keeping that progressive and modern stance of wanting to pursue the reform agenda,” he was quoted saying.

In another interview with Malay daily Sinar Harian, Parti Pribumi’s vice-president Mukhriz said his party was created not only for those who are unhappy with Umno but also to better represent the indigenous people of Malaysia.

Mukhriz who is also Dr Mahathir’s son added that the party would ultimately look out for all Malaysians in a bid to replace the ruling BN coalition.

Muhyiddin submitted the application to form the party with the Registrar of Societies last Tuesday.