PKR’s decision to use its own logo in the latest state election following a string of defeats over the past year could become a referendum on whether the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition should consider adopting the oval-shaped symbol as its own instead of the pact’s arrowhead design, a political analyst says.
PKR, whose president Anwar Ibrahim is PH’s chairman and prime ministerial candidate, suffered massive defeats at the Sabah, Melaka and Sarawak elections in 2020 and 2021.
The party was completely wiped out in Sarawak and Melaka while in Sabah, it won only two of the seven seats it contested.
Hisommudin Bakar of think tank Ilham Centre said PKR’s decision to use its own logo instead of joining DAP and Amanah under the PH banner indicated that it was looking to test its own strength.
If this decision is carried out at the polls in Johor, he said, the outcome would show if PKR’s logo is capable of rallying the support of voters. This in turn would be food for thought for the PH coalition, he added.
“PH needs to study the people’s acceptance of this specific logo,” he told MalaysiaNow.
“If the PKR logo is more accepted than PH’s, the other parties should also follow suit in making it their own. In short, PH needs a consensus to choose one logo under which to face its opponents.”
Amanah and DAP have both said that they will not “abandon” PH despite PKR’s decision to use its own logo at the Johor polls.
They also said that political allies and coalition partners should stay together, whether in good times or bad.
“As a coalition, Amanah and DAP would prefer all PH allies to unite under the same symbol with a common purpose and a shared political agenda,” they said.
Hisommudin said the results of the election in Johor would show which logo is more accepted by the majority of PH supporters.
“The results will also function as a benchmark for PH’s strategy in the 15th general election,” he said.
Hisommudin also cautioned that PKR’s decision to contest using its own logo would not sit well with voters who prefer stability.
“The PH leaders might say that this is proof of their willingness to be open in coming to a decision, but for voters including PH supporters, it comes across only a delayed division,” he said.
“If even the issue of which logo to use cannot be resolved through consensus, what guarantee can PH give that it will not fall apart after winning?
“The decision to use different logos has painted a picture for voters that there are hidden cracks in the coalition.”
PH leaders had acknowledged “differences in opinion” over PKR’s decision to contest under its logo but said that the Presidential Council had agreed to respect the party’s wishes.
But Hisommudin said the concession by PH’s top decision-making body was proof that DAP and Amanah appeared at odds with PKR in the matter.
“PH has still failed to overcome the problems in communication and machinery experienced in the state elections before this,” he said.
“Such a decision portraying a lack of unity among the biggest opposition parties will not give voters the confidence to vote for PH.”