KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's opposition front Pakatan Harapan (PH) has decided to use its unified logo for the Melaka state election next month.
"The decision is to use the Harapan logo," Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, the PH chief, announced on Friday (Oct 29), ending weeks of uncertainty on the issue.
Mr Anwar's Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), the Chinese-dominated Democratic Action Party (DAP), Parti Amanah Negara and the Sabah-based United Progressive Kinabalu Organisation (Upko) make up PH.
When PH - minus Upko - swept to a historic win during the 2018 general election, it used the PKR logo as it had yet to be registered formally as a coalition.
Subsequently, it used the unified logo in several by-elections after 2018 with mixed results.
The logo has not been electorally tested since Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad resigned as Prime Minister in February 2020 after the party he led, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu), defected en masse from the PH bloc. The defections plus others from PKR eventually led to the collapse of the PH government.
Mr Anwar also announced on Friday that PH had finalised its seat distribution for the Melaka polls on Nov 20.
PKR will contest in 11 seats, Amanah in nine and the DAP in the remaining eight seats up for grabs in the legislative polls.
Nomination Day is just over a week away and the Melaka polls are expected to feature a crowded field of candidates with the parties that make up the current federal government potentially clashing with each other as well as PH.
The Bersatu-led Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition could go head to head with the Umno-led Barisan Nasional coalition after Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi reiterated that it would not work with Bersatu in the election.
PN chief Muhyiddin Yassin has vowed to push ahead with its plans to contest all 28 state seats without waiting for Umno's cooperation.
But Umno secretary-general Ahmad Maslan said on Thursday that it would continue to work with Islamist party Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS), which is part of Mr Muhyiddin's PN.
PAS and Umno have their own political cooperation pact called Muafakat Nasional (MN), although this was never formalised as a coalition.
Bersatu and Umno have been part of the federal government since March 2020, though their relationship has been far from cordial, with PAS trying to maintain harmony between them. Bersatu is a splinter party of Umno.
All three are Malay-Muslim parties which have been at the centre of political tensions in Melaka since the 2018 election.
PH - which then counted Bersatu as one of its members - narrowly won the state in the 2018 poll, grabbing 15 of the 28 state seats. But shortly after the PH government in Kuala Lumpur collapsed in 2020, four assemblymen defected from the coalition leading to the then Umno-led opposition seizing power in the state.
The Umno-led administration lasted 19 months, falling again because of defections by four assemblymen - including two from Umno - in early October. The four rebels attempted to form a new government with the remaining PH representatives in the state, but Chief Minister Sulaiman Md Ali advised Melaka Governor Ali Rustam to dissolve the state assembly instead, paving way for the first state election in the country in over a year.
Campaigning for a state election in Sabah last year caused a Covid-19 wave in the country that did not wane until recently.