THE Gerakan Tanah Air (GTA) coalition led by former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad should be dissolved as it has no future in Malaysia’s political arena, experts said.
They felt that the coalition’s ideologies and motives are not accepted by the people, which led it to a crushing defeat in the November 19 general election, which was also its electoral debut.
International Islamic University Malaysia’s Tunku Mohar Tunku Mokhtar said GTA, including its parties, is just “small fish in a big pond” and claimed that it had nothing fresh to offer its target audience – the Malays.
“GTA component parties, including Pejuang, are small in the political environment led by bigger coalitions,” he said.
“They don’t have anything new to offer to the Malay electorate, who already have Umno, PAS and Bersatu to choose them.”
Tunku Mohar suggested that the parties in GTA be dissolved and urged them to join other political parties that carry similar political aspirations.
“Their best option is to dissolve the GTA parties and join parties that they think are closest to their bases of struggle,” he said.
The pro-Malay coalition is made up of Dr Mahathir’s Pejuang, National Indian Muslim Alliance Party, Parti Bumiputera Perkasa Malaysia and Parti Barisan Jemaah Islamiah Se-Malaysia.
The coalition also includes civil society groups, academics and professionals.
GTA, which fielded 125 candidates for parliamentary seats, contested under the Pejuang banner and Putra logo in Kelantan as the Registrar of Societies has yet to approve its registration as a coalition.
All its candidates lost in the polls, eventually also losing their deposits, including coalition chairman Dr Mahathir and his son Mukhriz, who failed to defend their seat in Langkawi and Jerlun respectively.
The defeat for Dr Mahathir was his first in 53 years.
Mazlan Ali of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia also said the parties in GTA should disband, adding that they have no future in Malaysian politics.
He said the Malays are now more inclined towards the Muhyiddin Yassin-led Perikatan Nasional (PN).
“I think Dr Mahathir should disband his party because the Malays now fully support PN’s agenda. Pejuang has no future,” the analyst said.
Mazlan thought he would have seen the last of Dr Mahathir in politics following his resignation from Bersatu but the 97-year-old returned to form Malay-centric Pejuang.
The UTM senior lecturer hoped Dr Mahathir, who holds the record as the longest-serving prime minister in the country, takes a permanent break from politics, claiming his agenda is not supported by the people.
Senior Fellow at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs Oh Ei Sun believes GTA will gradually disband and dissolve in the future.
He believes that the nonagenarian is the reason why the coalition exists.
“I think with Dr Mahathir announcing his retirement (in future), it would essentially make this party and coalition fizzle out,” he said.
“They will fade into oblivion because they are very Dr Mahathir-centric and they exist because of him.”
When asked what the future is for the other politicians in Pejuang and GTA, including Mukhriz, Oh said: “Politicians will always have a future.
“Politicians always have a way to survive. They will find their own ways.”
Days after their abysmal showing in the polls, Dr Mahathir addressed the public and said he was saddened by the party’s defeat.
A party insider said GTA is still weighing its options on the next possible action.
In the polls, Pakatan Harapan won 82 seats, PN (73), Barisan Nasional (30), Gabungan Parti Sarawak (23), Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (6) and Warisan (3).
The elections for the Padang Serai (Kedah) parliamentary seat and Tioman (Pahang) state seat will be held simultaneously with polling on December 7. – November 30, 2022.