PKR chief organising secretary Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad’s reasoning for the party’s decision to use its logo instead of the Pakatan Harapan one is baffling.
He reportedly said PKR had decided to abandon the PH logo for the upcoming Johor election because of the pact’s big baggage, which is supposedly contentious to the intended voters.
So, is he implying that PKR did not in part contribute to the so-called PH baggage, especially when it was in power, and, thus, it wanted to absolve itself from the purported shortcomings of the pact?
Is there not such a thing as collective responsibility so that each of the pact’s component parties own up to their collective mistakes or inadequacies?
Even if there are weaknesses in the coalition – and there are – is it not the collective responsibility of the component parties to address these issues as a concrete way of building the PH brand?
Using the PKR logo for the election may be seen by some as sweeping the pact’s problems under the proverbial carpet, which is counterproductive for a pact that is supposed to be forward-looking and an effective alternative to the sitting government.
PH component parties had used their respective logos in the Sarawak election, where they suffered a huge setback.
To be sure, the logo has been an outstanding issue for the pact, which needs to be resolved as soon as possible so it can focus on things that matter to the people.
Besides, PKR contesting an election using its own logo while the rest of the pact use the PH one would give the impression that the pact is not united in some ways. Such a situation may not inspire confidence among voters, apart from confusing them.
In an attempt to reinforce their argument, PKR logo advocates said their party symbol yielded PH a thumping victory in the last general election.
The reason the use of the PKR logo worked so well then is largely because the general mood in the country was ready for regime change. Besides, PH had difficulties in registering its new logo because the Registrar of Societies had not recognised the pact at the time.
The passage of time, however, has seen certain segments of the population feeling disgruntled over PH’s performance, which the pact should address seriously as a way of lightening its baggage.
There is the perception that certain component parties had been pandering to the needs and wishes of big businesses at the expense of the poor and dispossessed, whose grievances require urgent redress.
For example, there was a drastic cut in subsidies to fishermen and farmers when PH was in power.
There was a lack of concerted political will to improve public hospitals, government schools and public transport.
Housing policy, for example, that caters to the needs of the common people, particularly the bottom 40% of constituents, should have been prioritised over one that encouraged the construction of expensive luxury homes that would only fill the deep pockets of developers.
It is important that PH component parties are united in their policies and priorities towards their constituents. Branding can only take you so far.
What really matters is the commitment of the parties to uplift the quality of life of the people, especially the lower-income group, and the public perception of that commitment. – The Malaysian Insight