PH: Time to restrategise

Its a battle of perception

By The Editor

So, what was the main reason behind Pakatan Harapan's loss in the Semenyih by-election? Was it the choice of candidate, poor coordination of the PH electoral machinery, lack of media strategy from PH or were the rakyat simply sending a clear message?

One thing for sure is that it’s time for PH to do some serious soul searching if it wants to avoid losing the war.

It is clear that the investment by Datuk Seri Najib Razak into his social media campaign paid off handsomely. The opposite, coupled with inexperienced politicians on PH's side was also glaring.

From the votes, it can be seen that Barisan Nasional won in Malay majority areas, while the other races were still behind PH. Najib's focus of late has also been on the Malay voters who were clearly the decision makers in Semenyih.

His aggressive media campaign was very instrumental in influencing these voters, while the poor effort by PH to highlight all its achievements also contributed.

As a veteran politician pointed out, PH was simply wasting too much time focusing on Najib and the BN instead on the people's needs and the economy as a whole.

"PH has scored numerous successes since they took over and they should focus more on highlighting all this, rather to be on standby and rebut whatever Najib says.

"You must understand, Najib has nothing to lose. He can do or say whatever he wants and get away with it. All eyes are now on PH and they have to be very cautious what they say and do," he said.

A political observer pointed out that the first thing PH needs to do is to portray a more united front to the people.
"The ministers needs to speak with one voice and never contradict each other. Making contradictory statements gives the rakyat the impression that they are not together on most issues," he said.

Is it really that hard for the ministers to talk to each other when there are issues that overlap ministries?
Can’t they even plan and coordinate a press release? They shouldn’t be scrambling about to find answers and do damage control after a poor thought of statement.

It is time for them to think strategically. What has happened to strategic communication thinking and tools that they should be adopting? Whatever they are doing now seems to be a half past six effort, with many important positions being occupied by relatively junior and inexperienced staff.

PH should also be highlighting all their success stories, especially from the manifesto. Their leaders should all be on the same page and speak about them repeatedly without contradicting each other.

Every word that comes out from a minister or leader should be well thought of and not something that is from a spur of the moment.
It is also time for PH to stop passing the buck to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to pull them through and begin relying on their own credentials.

Tun cannot be there all the time. PH ministers need to buck up and if necessary, the non-performers need to go. The rakyat can see clearly that whenever ministers make a blunder, they immediately say that the PM will decide on the next course of action.

Reports also stated that there was very poor dissemination of news and information by PH, which is something they urgently need to look into.
According to sources, another major obstacle for PH is the lack of cooperation it receives from certain civil servants. Apparently, a large number of civil servants were still aligned to the BN and due to this the many policies by PH are delayed and some not implemented at all.

"Another thing PH needs to greatly focus on is to enhance their social media presence. Invest heavily if you need to ... BN did it and obviously it is paying dividends," said another politician.

In Semenyih, the media strategy for their candidate was grossly inadequate. Even his schedule was not given to the media until it was near noon. This was in stark contrast with the BN machinery, which constantly updated everyone not only on their candidate’s movement but also on any other BN related events.

PH should also start coaching their potential candidates to handle the stresses of politics. They should be trained to handle questions, the people, reactions to crisis and most importantly sound intelligent.

Afterall politics is all about perception. Through perception PH won GE14 and through perception too, BN won Semenyih.