Mahathir just wants to stay relevant, analysts say on 'Malay-centric' GTA

ANIS ZALANI
ANIS ZALANI
05 Aug 2022 08:00pm
Professor Datuk Shamsul Amri Baharuddin (left) and Deputy Director of the Institute of Ethnic Studies Associate Professor Dr Kartini Aboo Talib
Professor Datuk Shamsul Amri Baharuddin (left) and Deputy Director of the Institute of Ethnic Studies Associate Professor Dr Kartini Aboo Talib
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SHAH ALAM - Expert says the stunt pulled by former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad in establishing a new coalition party called Gerakan Tanah Air (GTA) is just another political gimmick to remain relevant in Malaysian politics.

This comes after the Pejuang chairman announced the establishment of GTA, a coalition he said is aimed at strengthening the Malays, especially in the economic field.

Mahathir had said for a start, GTA would be made up of Pejuang, Parti Perikatan India Muslim Nasional (Iman), Parti Barisan Jemaah Islamiah Se-Malaysia (Berjasa) and Parti Bumiputera Perkasa Malaysia (Putra).

But Professor Datuk Shamsul Amri Baharuddin of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) said Mahathir just wants to stay relevant.

“He can't retire and see himself doing nothing.

“In short, he wants to continue to be relevant but the support for him has faded,” he told Sinar Daily.

He added Dr Mahathir is refusing to retire from politics and may have rich friends to support him politically.

“He invested in them and he is now collecting the return on investment (ROI),” he said.

Shamsul said GTA has a slim chance of winning and may even lose the deposit for the seats they plan to contest.
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“GTA is formed from broken pieces and is fragile, with no grassroots support," he added.

Shamsul Amri further said the 97-year-old Mahathir may end up getting some "nostalgic support" but the coalition will likely collapse once he is gone.

Meanwhile, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) Deputy Director of the Institute of Ethnic Studies Associate Professor Dr Kartini Aboo Talib said Mahathir may try to lure fence-sitters.

“The fence-sitters are mostly young voters or new voters and may be influenced by social media," she told Sinar Daily.

But she agreed with Shamsul Amri that the coalition is just another way of Mahathir to rebrand himself but "it may be temporary."

She said Dr Mahathir is hoping to remain relevant after the disastrous Sheraton Move which saw him resigning as the country's prime minister but it may fail to be the third force in GE15.

“The coalition is too Malay-centric, and they have to compete against other prominent and more powerful coalitions like Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Harapan (PH). So it will be hard,” she said.

However, she said GTA may need to work with well-established parties like Pas, PKR or DAP to compete.