PH should create awareness on how its logo looks like.
Pakatan Harapan coalition, comprising PKR, DAP, Amanah and UPKO, is in full steam ahead with its election campaign – leaving rivals behind in the dust. Apparently, the top leadership, based on surveys using sophisticated big data, believes they currently have between 80 and 90 parliamentary seats in its pocket. The number could be an exaggeration, or an understatement.
Regardless whether Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s (PKR) newly-crowned deputy president, Rafizi Ramli, is playing a psychological game or otherwise, he appears capable of attracting the attention of young voters. The crowds are not only getting bigger, but the audience is made of younger Malays, desperately looking for a new perspective as issues of bread and butter continue to bite.
Rafizi, clearly more mature than 10 years ago, seems very well prepared with different campaign stories to feed audience’s hunger for compelling reasons to vote for Pakatan Harapan. People are more demanding today. They do not want to listen to the same old boring political speeches, which they can get on YouTube at the comfort of their home. Rafizi surely didn’t disappoint.
The PKR deputy president could articulate the issues of corruption, its impact on the economy, the effect of Ringgit depreciation, and more importantly – offer the solutions to fight inflation, low wages and housing to young people. The reactions from the audience suggest they were impressed with Rafizi, who delivers fresh and different contents unlike religious bigotry and racial extremism spewed by opponents.
It’s absolutely incredible how Pakatan managed to turn the table in a short period of time after they were slaughtered in the Melaka (November 2021) and Johor (March 2022) state elections. Arguably, the jailing of former PM Najib Razak and the return of Rafizi to politics were two critical factors that see the opposition in offensive instead of defensive – controlling the campaign narrative.
Besides Rafizi, other equally popular speakers like PM-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim, Nurul Izzah, Nga Kor Ming, Anthony Loke, Liew Chin Tong, Hannah Yeoh, Mujahid Yusof Rawa and Mat Sabu have started aggressively attacking opponent’s strongholds – at the same time locking existing voter bases – even before the rivals released their respective candidates list.
Compared to during the Melaka and Johor state elections, Pakatan Harapan definitely looks more organized, united and motivated. However, as the top leaders focus on the big picture, they might have overlooked one small, but important issue – the logo on the ballot paper. Did they realize that there are many, especially senior citizens, who do not know that the opposition is using a new logo this time?
In fact, based on our surveys, even some in the age of 50s thought the logo this round is still the “blue eye” PKR logo used in the 2018 General Election. Back then, the PKR logo was used by all of Pakatan Harapan candidates as a common symbol because the Registrar of Societies (RoS) was ordered by Najib administration to delay the approval of the opposition coalition logo.
As a result, the opposition scrambled to promote the PKR logo. But in the upcoming 15th General Election, there are visibly zero awareness programmes to promote the “Pakatan Harapan logo” among the illiterate and elderly voters, who do not access social media. Even though the number might be small, every vote counts. Even if they have access to the internet, some might still get confused.
And who can blame them after the chaos created by the Pakatan Harapan top leadership. After losing all the seats it contested in the Melaka state election, the PKR central leadership had childishly blamed the coalition logo as the source of the humiliating defeat. In the Johor state election, PKR decided to use its own party logo, but suffered a similar fate – winning only one seat.
Only after being taught its lesson PKR agreed to use the coalition logo in the 15th national polls. For many months, the opposition parties were being mocked, laughed and ridiculed for its inability to solve a matter as simple as the logo. It was only last month (October) that all parties – PKR, DAP, Amanah and UPKO – decided to use the Pakatan Harapan logo, except DAP Sarawak, which will use its “rocket” symbol.
Because the ballot paper will not print the logo in colour, it’s equally difficult to tell Pakatan Harapan supporters to choose the only logo in red colour. Unlike in 2018, where supporters can safely choose one of three symbols that isn’t “scale” (represents Barisan Nasional) or “moon” (represents PAS Islamist party), there are more than 210 multi-cornered fights this time.
Yes, to make matters worse, senior citizens will be intimidated with a ballot paper packed with up to 10 candidates and logos. A total of 945 candidates is fighting for the 222 parliamentary seats next month (Nov 19), one of the most crowded elections ever. Therefore, Pakatan Harapan should spend some resources to create awareness, even though it might sound petty and silly.
Another issue that could raise confusion, misunderstanding or even argument during the polling day is the new information attached to each voter’s voting details at the Election Commission website. When you check your voting details for the upcoming general election on Nov 19, it also shows a small piece of information – “recommended time” to cast your ballot (for example: from 2pm-4pm).
According to the Election Commission, there are 21.17 million eligible voters this time round – an additional 6.23 million new voters – due largely to the new law that allows Malaysians aged 18 to 20 to vote for the first time. The recommended voting time could be just a suggestion to avoid massive traffic or queues in anticipation of the new spike of new voters.
However, it could lead to serious problems if the authorities enforced it with evil intention. For example, if some police officers under the instruction of the Election Commission suddenly say every voter can only vote during the “recommended time”, there would be a mad rush which may even escalate into riots. After all, this is not the first time the corrupt Election Commission abused its power.
During the 2018 General Election, the official results of the polls were deliberately delayed by the Election Commission when it was clear that the corrupt Barisan Nasional ruling government had been defeated for the first time in history. Even though the counting had finished, the officers refused to sign “Form 14” – the final official statement of counting at a polling station that cannot be amended.
No official results were announced even after 3am, leading to fear that there was possibly “hanky panky” in the process to cheat as then-PM Najib Razak was shocked by the unexpected defeat. There were also speculations that the panicked Najib could resort to declaring a State of Emergency and start arresting opposition leaders to cling to power.
Likewise, if the turnout is extraordinarily high this time, which is not favourable to Barisan Nasional, little Napoleons in the Election Commission could play dirty again to help the corrupt regime. The “recommended time” to vote could be purposely misinterpreted as “mandatory time” in an effort to suppress voter turnout. Voters could be denied their right to vote if family members are allocated different time slot at different polling stations. – Finance Twitter