Nomination day is now behind us and many in Pakatan Harapan were initially very critical when some of the candidates put forward was rejected by the Election Council.
Some were disappointed because it seemed to hand over an easy victory to Barisan Nasional. However, there is a saying about it is better to lose a battle than to lose a war.
In this case, on hindsight, the controversy in DUN N27 Rantau, Negeri Sembilan has paid massive dividends for Pakatan Harapan.
This is because this controversy has yet become yet another issue which is being played to the hilt in Pakatan Harapan ceramahs throughout the country. As we had said, this issue could affect Indian support for Barisan Nasional going into the final stretch before voting day on May 09th, 2018.
As MIC President, Dato Seri Subramaniam had said earlier that the Indian support for Barisan Nasional was very strong before Parliament was dissolved. This is most likely due to a more level playing field provided by Dato Seri Najib to the community compared to previous Prime Ministers.
However, issues like these as well as cost of living issues can affect Indian support in the final stretch. Issues like these are emotional issues and the more emotional issues are created, the worse it will be for BN. In finance terms, ‘political volatility’ is bad for BN.
Updated 10th May
Negeri Sembilan state government fell during the election. Rantau fiasco was a factor.
Another issue relates to the removal of Tun Dr Mahathir’s picture from Pakatan Harapan election posters.
We saw this as yet another bonus.
The idea of removing someone’s picture is related to a form of punishment called Damnatio memoriae. This was performed in ancient Rome and involved defacing or removing pictures of people termed to be traitors, even after they had died. Stalin too inflicted this form of punishment on people he purged during his reign.
That is why we we expected this to happen:
Once again, you have to stand back and consider the ‘optics.’ The Minister of Defense tried to distance BN from the actions of the EC workers in cutting out Dr Mahathir’s picture.
The reason is obvious – Malays will be extremely angry to see such an act on one of the nation’s most respected leaders.
The most crucial aspect is that it took one day for the Minister of Defense who is spearheading BN’s campaign in the Northern Johore to issue such a statement. Plausible explanations are that this action ‘really angered’ a key voting segment that BN is relying on to deliver the votes next Wednesday. This must have filtered through until it reached his ears, hence he issued the press statement.
The picture of a leader holds great significance, especially that of a well respected leader. PH must accord Tun Dr Mahathir with that respect so that people are not misled into thinking that PH is using Tun. In fact, Pakatan Harapan should be very careful not color out the image of Dr Mahathir because people are very sensitive with the pictures of leaders being treated in a way that is very disrespectful.
In branding, do not destroy the brand element. Either the brand element is present, or another brand element is created to replace a brand element that cannot be displayed. Dr Mahathir’s picture is a massive brand element – like the Apple logo is to Apple Corporation.
The picture on a poster is a key issue – PH needs to be very smart and creative about it. Either the silhouette is completely black or the entire frame is cut out. It needs to be done with some skill.
But do not, colour it over and put a question mark. That is a strict no,no.