04 March, 2008

Indelible ink or Invisible Ink ?

The Election Commission Tuesday cancelled plan to use indelible ink in the upcoming general election.


For this general election, the commission said it would need 48,000 bottles of the ink. This will cost RM2.4mil and the whole procedure will take less than RM1mil to implement. (Star)

Malaysiakini:EC under fire for backtracking ink use

Opposition parties today criticised the Election Commission for the last minute reversal of the plans to use the indelible ink in the coming general election, which they claimed could have avoided the menace of phantom voters.

In an immediate reaction, PKR’s deputy president Dr Syed Husin Ali did not mince his words when he charged that the cancellation of the use of indelible ink was a clear proof that the “EC is colluding with BN to allow cheating in the coming general elections”.

“Despite all assurances and false gestures, it is now clear the (EC chairperson) Abd Rashid (Abd Rahman) is content to conduct the 12th general election in an atmosphere completely bereft of integrity,” he said in a statement.

“Citing 'public order' and 'security' is also nonsensical reasoning that is perfectly consistent with the language of forces around the world who seek to supress democratic freedoms,” he added.

He added that polls reform group Bersih, which represents not just political parties but a wide swathe of civil society, has campaigned tirelessly for indelible ink to be used to battle the scourge of phantom voters.

He also said that candidates have observed irregularities in postal voting, and revealed hundreds and thousands of false addresses, dead individuals and voters over 100 years old in the electoral roll.

“At a moment where the eyes of the entire world are upon us, the EC has now conclusively and irrevocably shown that any overtures towards reform that it had made previously were in bad faith, and that in decisive moments, the EC will yield to every demand of its political masters,” he said.

He however said that the PKR noted one positive outcome of this development - that the BN intelligence must clearly be showing a swing towards the opposition, thus forcing them to resort once again to phantom voters and other forms of cheating.

Under protest

PAS leader and a member of Bersih's steering committee Dr Dzulkifli Ahmad also similarly expressed his disgust with the EC decision.

"This means that none of our demands are getting through. We thought it would at least go through with (using indelible ink)," said the director of PAS Research Centre.

"We want to make it clear that we are entering this election under protest," he said.

"We could foresee this coming. Now, our concerns and anxieties are immensely vindicated."

Despite his outrage with the EC's move, Dzulkifli urged opposition candidates and sympathisers to remain composed and focus on the task at hand: winning the upcoming polls.

"We will not be provoked. We will remain resilient, calm and relentless. We will maintain the due process of the elections. We will not destroy our chances of victory and will not do anything untoward."

After the polls, however, Bersih would "surely" file a petition on this matter, Dzulkifli said.

Mafrel PC tomorrow

PKR vice president R Sivarasa, also the candidate for Selangor's Subang parliamentary seat, matched the indignation unleashed by Dzulkifli.

"I am completely shocked by this decision. It is tantamount to perpetuating a fraud on the elections," he said.

"From last July to just recently they told the Malaysian public that they were using indelible ink. And the reasons they give for cancelling the ink are nonsensical. How can marking someone's finger have anything to do with national security?" he asked.

Election watchdog Mafrel, when contacted, said that it would be commenting on the matter through a press conference tomorrow.

With elections due next Saturday, Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has promised to 'seriously look into' the problems facing the ethnic Indian community.

'This is not just an empty promise but a serious promise that we will carry out. I am listening to your problems and demands. We will discuss your problems and will execute whatever we have promised in the Barisan Nasional's manifesto if we win in the coming elections,' Badawi was quoted as saying by The Star Monday.

'These include education for the Indians and problems faced by Indians in estates,'

With three more days to polling on Saturday, there is an abnormally high percentage of silent voters, estimated at between 35 and 40 per cent of the electorate, in most parts of the country in this general election.

Political analyst Assoc Prof Dr Mohammad Agus Yusoff said the figure was almost double the average of about 20 per cent of silent voters in any general election. "Ground assessment showed that they have not made up their minds for reasons best known to them.

"They are still assessing the government's performance, the country's leadership, efforts to combat corruption, integrity of the judiciary apart from the bread-and-butter issues such the rising cost of living and crime index as well as the opposition's side of the story, he said.

He noted that the increase in the number of silent was obvious in all states except for the Malay belt of Kelantan, Terengganu and Kedah where most of the voters have made up their minds on where to cross their the ballot papers, leaving only a small percentage of fence-sitters.

"You can see the mood on the ground. As many as 35 to 40 per cent of the voters are still indecisive on who to cast their votes for. They did not show which side they are on," he said.

Dr Mohammad Agus said that although Barisan Nasional (BN) could easily win and form the federal government after March 8 and even control a two-third majority, the silent voters were crucial in determining the number of remaining seats to be won and the overall majority.

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Blogger Crankshaft said...

..certain irresponsible quarters had purchased indelible ink from abroad with the intention of creating confusion and suspicion as to the status of voters.

You mean you can buy indelible ink so easily, like at the pasar malam?

I feel insulted that BN and the election commission think I'm so stupid not to know what they're up to.

These are the people I have allowed to rule my country.

This is even more reason for me to vote for change.

March 05, 2008 2:34 PM  
Blogger Linken Lim said...


Just give BN a chance to be the
opposition lah.

March 05, 2008 7:06 PM  

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