Pejuang has failed to communicate their identity effectively , say political experts
SHAH ALAM - Despite having the illustrious Tun Mahathir Mohamad at its helm once upon a time and now his son Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir, Pejuang is still seen as a failed political vehicle which seems to be lost in its identity and branding.
Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) political analyst Dr Abdul Aziz Azizam said that Pejuang failed to clearly communicate its identity and branding not only to voters but also to rivals.
"Furthermore, with some current issues, Tun Mahathir and 12 other Pejuang main members leaving to join Putra has indicated that the party is undergoing a critical internal problem."
"It can also be understood that Pejuang is too preoccupied with internal matters and neglects important work such as consolidating their grassroots strength," he explained.
Aziz added that these issues are enough to deter any party from cooperating with Pejuang, which is likely to become an extra burden for them.
"Actually, it is not a problem for a losing party to join a bigger coalition, but the data shows that the proportion of voters who chose Pejuang in the previous election is too small, and I think this is the main reason the Perikatan Nasional (PN) to reject Pejuang," Aziz explained.
Meanwhile Universiti Putra Malaysia political analyst Datuk Prof Dr Jayum Anak Jawan said the party's dismal performance in the 15th general election demonstrated that Tun Mahathir's influence was waning.
"Worst of all, all candidates from Pejuang lost their election deposits.
"This shows how much respect Tun Mahathir still has among the Malay community.
" Him leaving Pejuang to join Putra is a desperate attempt to revive his lost leadership in the Malay community," he told Sinar Daily.
Jayum further added that Dr Mahathir's political maneuverings will not work as voters of all races now favour candidates instead of political parties.
"Putra is nothing, and Tun Mahathir's sliding popularity among the Malays are both factors that won't help Tun Mahathir and also Putra in the new, post-2018 Malaysian political narrative."
"It would be better for Tun Mahathir to salvage whatever is left of his glorious political days, and it is a political feat to have been prime minister for 22 years, not including about 2 years the second time around.
"Retire, stay in the background, and be the wiseman of Malaysia," Jayum mused.
For International Islamic International University (IIUM) political analyst Dr Syaza Shukri the reality that Pejuang stood alone during the 15th general election was reflective of their ability to be loyal towards a coalition.
“Anyway more parties require more negotiations and at this moment PN already has the upper hand so why risk having to negotiate seats with a party that lost horribly in GE15.”
Furthermore, Syaza added that Pejuang is seen as more centrist in comparison to the far-right ideology of the PN.
"In some ways, Putra is a superior match for PN." she said
Earlier, the PN Supreme Council meeting chaired by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had decided to reject Pejuang's application to join the opposition bloc.
PN secretary-general Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin said the meeting was also attended by Pas President Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang, Gerakan President Datuk Dr Dominic Lau Hoe Chai, and all other party representatives.
Pejuang had applied to join the PN as a component party, which was announced by its president, Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir, on March 2.