KUALA LUMPUR: Umno will take Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's newly-formed Gerakan Tanah Air seriously, says Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan.
The party's secretary-general said Umno will not underestimate any opponent in the upcoming 15th General Election (GE15).
“Let them do what they want. What’s most important is that Umno and Barisan Nasional must be ready to face GE15, whenever it will be,” he told the media after Umno’s supreme council meeting on Thursday night (Aug 4) at the party's headquarters here.
When asked by reporters to comment on Gerakan Tanah Air, Ahmad asked reporters how many seats Parti Pejuang Tanah Air lost in the Johor state election.
“It was 42 seats, isn’t it?” he questioned.
During the Johor state election in March, all 42 Pejuang candidates lost their deposits.
Dr Mahathir earlier announced the formation of a new political alignment at the Perdana Leadership Foundation in Putrajaya.
Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said such a political coalition aimed to “kill other political parties” should not happen.
“Anyone who wants to contest in the polls should aim to move Malaysia forward and ensure the country is successful,” he said.
Khaled also said the Malay community should not be influenced by the former premier as the movement is only temporary as GE15 is getting near.
“I hope the Malays will not get influenced by such tactics that are short-term and impromptu. Then, after the general election, they will just abandon the struggle,” he added.
Earlier on Thursday, Dr Mahathir announced the setting up of Gerakan Tanah Air to ensure that the rights of the Malays are taken care of.
The coalition consists of four political parties, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), academicians and individuals.
They include Pejuang, the National Indian Muslim Alliance Party (Iman), Parti Bumiputera Perkasa Malaysia (Putra) and Parti Barisan Jemaah Islamiah Se-Malaysia (Berjasa).