The ‘real war’ in GE15 will be in Malay strongholds, says Pejuang man

(FMT) – The newly-formed Gerakan Tanah Air (GTA) coalition led by Dr Mahathir Mohamad is aiming to get a foothold in rural Malay-majority areas, says a Pejuang leader.

Rafique Rashid Ali, deputy chief of the party’s federal territory division, said the “real war” during the general election will be in areas such as Felda estates, villages and rural constituencies that are known to be Malay strongholds.

“PKR, DAP and Amanah are now unable to make inroads into these areas. Pakatan Harapan had relied on Mahathir to achieve this in the last general election (GE14),” he said in a statement.

The formation of GTA as a Malay-only coalition has come under criticism from several quarters, including opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who said a more multiracial approach is needed to resolve the country’s woes.

Rafique said the criticism was borne out of envy towards the new coalition. He then questioned why the opposition was afraid of GTA when they were fighting to achieve the same goals.

He said the coalition’s willingness to challenge Umno should garner support from the people, as other Malay-based parties such as Bersatu and PAS have lost their direction in fighting for the Malay cause after being swayed by power.

“GTA wishes to fight against corruption by upholding principles of integrity and trust, and to consolidate the socio-economic strength of Malays.”

Although the coalition is Malay-based, Rafique stressed that GTA is open to anyone who desires a “clean, efficient and trustworthy” government built on dignity and principles.

“GTA is a people’s movement,” he said. “It’s not racist.”

On Thursday, Mahathir unveiled GTA, which comprises Pejuang, Parti Barisan Jemaah Islamiah Se-Malaysia (Berjasa), Parti Bumiputera Perkasa Malaysia (Putra) and the National Indian Muslim Alliance Party (Iman).

Mahathir said the movement, also consisting of Malay NGOs, academics as well as professionals, was aimed at changing the government and going up against Umno in the next general election.