Rafique Rashid Ali says the exit was discussed with grassroots and branch leaders.
PETALING JAYA: A Pejuang leader has defended the party against criticism over its decision to pull out from Gerakan Tanah Air (GTA) after detractors claimed the matter was not discussed by its top leadership.
Pejuang information chief Rafique Rashid Ali said the party had discussed the proposal to quit GTA with the grassroots and branch leaders prior to bringing the matter to its general assembly.
He also said GTA’s components were informed in advance that Pejuang would be voting on whether to remain with the movement.
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“The decision to withdraw from GTA and focus on strengthening the party was not made by the president alone.
“It was decided collectively by the delegates,” he said in a statement.
Rafique was responding to allegations by GTA secretary-general Marzuki Yahya who claimed that party president Mukhriz Mahathir only considered the views of Pejuang delegates when they convened for its general assembly on Saturday.
Mukhriz did not discuss the matter with the party’s top leadership, Marzuki alleged.
Rafique went on to say that Marzuki was trying to twist facts.
“He should understand and respect democracy.”
On Aug 4, then Pejuang chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced the formation of GTA, comprising Malay-based parties, NGOs, academics as well as professionals.
The movement includes his party Pejuang, Berjasa, Parti Bumiputera Perkasa Malaysia (Putra) and the National Indian Muslim Alliance Party (Iman).
GTA, which was banking on the Malay-majority areas, contested 115 parliamentary seats and 43 state seats in the last general election. Pejuang’s candidates, including Mahathir, lost their deposits.