Cost, strategy, social media bearing on poster war

Political parties have reportedly opted mainly for posters and flags than billboards in their quest to indicate their presence

COST, placement strategy and preference for social media seem to have had a bearing on the poster war in the 15th General Election (GE15).

Political parties have reportedly opted mainly for posters and flags than billboards in their quest to indicate their presence.

They are also said to be placing this paraphernalia in strategic locations to ensure the greatest visibility — saying a great deal with a little.

The reduction in the number of physical posters, flags and banners also points to the greater use of social media and, thus, digital paraphernalia.

Hence, it does not come as a surprise when fewer posters, flags, banners and billboards are visible in this election than in GE14 in 2018.

A check by Bernama in the federal capital and Gombak in Selangor last Tuesday found that the atmosphere of colourful party flags on roadsides and buildings less lively than in GE14, except in the populated and residential areas such as the Taman Keramat PKNS flats.

Pakatan Harapan (PH) Gombak information chief Zafrullah Aris said the party focused on locations where the flags and posters would be easily seen by voters so that they can feel the PH presence in the particular constituency.

“We (PH) chose to put up posters in the urban centres, towns and housing estates instead of buying billboards at intersections of major roads such as the Middle Ring Road 2 because that would be costly,” he told Bernama.

According to Zafrullah, PH was also focusing on candidate poster campaigns on social media because of the relatively lower cost, besides being able to draw young voters who are more active online.

His view was shared by Setiawangsa Umno Youth head Roshan Zaki Othman who said that more attention was given to the poster war on social media in GE15. Nevertheless, there were no fewer Barisan Nasional (BN) flags and posters in the Setiawangsa parliamentary constituency than in GE14.

“Additionally, we have set up a ‘Speakers’ Corner’ which helps to spread the word about the advantages of our candidates and the party,” he said, adding that the effective putting up of posters and the distribution of pamphlets helped to reduce the expenditure.

In Kedah, a check by Bernama found no candidate posters in the Kubang Pasu and Alor Setar parliamentary constituencies as of last Tuesday, while there were not as many party flags as was the case in GE14.

Parti Pejuang Tanah Air executive secretary Muhammad Fikri Ahmad acknowledged that relatively fewer flags of Pejuang, which is in its maiden GE, had been put up due to the limited financial allocation for that.

“We intended to ‘submerge’ this Kubang Pasu (parliamentary constituency) with flags put up at every nook and corner.

“However, we decided to place the flags and campaign materials only at strategic locations such as near traffic lights, highway intersections and public places such as night markets,” said Muhammad Fikri, who is also Pejuang Muda treasurer.

In Kelantan, the exuberance of the war of flags and banners is being felt in several areas in Gua Musang as the campaign strides toward polling this Saturday.

Hamidah Ismail, a resident of the Taman Putih housing estate, said the residents’ committee had worked together to put up the BN flags and posters since the campaign began.

“Young people in our area suggested that we increase the number of flags. So, the village committee members bought 500 bamboo poles from people living in the rural areas at RM1 per pole,” she said.

Abd Rahim Abdullah of the Chin Teck housing area said more and more flags and posters would be put up as the campaign proceeded so as to liven up the election atmosphere.

In Johor, party supporters had an enjoyable time putting up flags and posters throughout the night as they worked to ensure the electoral victory of their respective candidates.

A Bernama check revealed that BN, Perikatan Nasional and Malaysia United Democratic Alliance (Muda) flags and posters lined the main road from Parit Jawa to Muar town.

He said every night, about 20 volunteers would help the Muar Muda election machinery to put up 600 flags of various sizes using bamboo poles of 2.5m to 3m in length obtained from Pontian and Segamat at RM3 per pole.

In Penang, the poster war in the urban areas has been lukewarm thus far compared to the suburbs and villages where the posters are modified into interesting shapes.  

A spokesman of the Penang Island City Council, when contacted by Bernama, said it had entertained 25 applications for election advertising permits from contesting political parties.

“So far, we have not rejected any application. We would like to remind all applicants to ensure the advertisements do not cause harm to the public and road users,” he said. — Bernama