Political analysts say it will be difficult for a newly registered party like Pejuang to win the 15th general election (GE15) and govern the country by itself, even if it is led by a statesman like Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Former Universiti Sains Malaysia lecturer Ahmad Atory Hussain said that looking at the current political landscape, he would not rule out Pejuang forming an alliance with Perikatan Nasional (PN) after GE15.
He also expects the four Pejuang MPs to vote in support of Muhyiddin Yassin as the prime minister if a confidence motion is tabled when Parliament reconvenes on July 26.
This support could come in response to the government’s decision to approve Pejuang’s registration, Atory said.
“Mahathir is also worried that if his party does not support Muhyiddin, the PKR president (Anwar Ibrahim) will become the prime minister, which is why Muhyiddin approved the registration of Pejuang,” he said.
Asked if Pejuang would be able to win in GE15, he said that while the former prime minister’s aura was not as strong as before, he still had influence.
“Since he does not want to rest, there will still be support from people who are obsessed with him,” he said.
Analyst Salawati Mat Basir of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) shared Atory’s views.
“Pejuang is expected to work with PN rather than with Barisan Nasional (BN) or Pakatan Harapan (PH),” she said. “Even the former party that he founded, Bersatu, is in the coalition, so the possibility of Pejuang working with PN is high.”
Salawati said that despite Pejuang’s registration, the party could face a negative perception from the people following Mahathir’s failure to fulfil all of PH’s election promises after leading the government for 22 months.
Meanwhile, a political analyst from Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) Azizuddin Mohd Sani said it was difficult to predict which party or parties Pejuang would work with, as Mahathir’s political moves were tough to read.
“If Mahathir works with Anwar again, I would not be surprised. He may also collaborate with Warisan or MUDA,” he said.
“Mahathir working with Umno-BN, even with the court cluster leaders, is also not impossible if there is mutual agreement. Even with PN, it is not impossible, because after Umno withdrew its support for the PN government, Bersatu will need his backing.
“Mahathir is politically efficient, he can find a way to compromise with the enemy, to work together and win in the GE.”
Kamarul Zaman Yusoff, also of UUM, said with Mahathir’s vast experience, no one should underestimate his ability to pull off surprises.
“It is possible that even if Pejuang goes solo, Mahathir could have informal cooperation with certain parties to increase its chances of winning.
“However, Pejuang’s strength revolves around Mahathir’s personal influence, which means it is only really able to make a major impact in his home state of Kedah,” Kamarul said.
He said PH’s inclination towards Anwar as the prime minister elect meant Pejuang would be expected to lean towards PN if the coalition gave Mahathir a role in the government.
“It is common knowledge that Mahathir will not allow Anwar to rise as prime minister. In this alignment, it is likely that the PN coalition would have a better chance of winning than PH,” he said.