Tuesday, March 04, 2008

EC's Incredible Indelible-Ink Flip Flop

EC: Indelible ink will not be used
Tuesday, 04 March 2008

The Election Commission has cancelled the use of indelible ink for this general election, citing public order and security issues.

The stunning announcement was made at a press conference in Putrajaya this afternoon - four days before polling. The announcement was made by EC chairperson Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman. Also present at the press conference were Attorney General Abdul Gani Patail dan Inspector General of Police Musa Hassan.

The indelible ink was to be introduced for the first time in Malaysia as part of efforts to enhance transparency.

In line with this, along with the introduction of the ink, the EC had also allowed for the casting of postal ballots to be observed by polling agents and the use of transparent ballot boxes.
The EC believed that the changes would quell some of the allegations that Malaysian elections are not free and fair.

In preparation for the use of the indelible ink, the EC had previously said that it would buy approximately 48,000 bottles of indelible ink worth RM2.4mil from India.

Women voters were also repeatedly reminded to remove their nail polish before going to the polls on March 8, as it would be difficult to apply the ink otherwise.

However even prior to today’s shocking EC back track, questions were being asked as to how the EC can compel voters to apply the ink as elections laws have not been amended to include the provision for the use of the indelible ink.

The EC overcame this burden by stating that voters who were against the use of indelible ink would have to fill out a form seeking to be excused before the cast their vote.

The opposition has two days ago ticked off the EC for appearing to have second thoughts on the introduction of the indelible ink.

R Sivarasa, the candidate for Selangor's Subang, said that the ink would stop possible incidences of multiple voting.

"They misled all Malaysians, not only yourselves, the voters of Malaysia and us, that they would implement the (use of) indelible ink - they also issued numerous statements about how much indelible ink would cost and they said they would buy it." - M'kini