Ak57\’s Weblog

Thoughts and opinions on Malaysian news, its people and its culture

Posts Tagged ‘SPR

Pretense of Indelible Inkage Dropped

Shock reversal: Indelible ink plan erased

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.

EC chairperson Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman said the commission was obliged to make a “firm and final decision to ensure the smooth conduct of the 12th general election”.

“Following legal advice and looking at the issue of public order and security, the EC… has decided not… to introduce the use of indelible ink,” he said.

“The EC views these issues seriously, as the election process and public order and security cannot be compromised,” he added. “The EC deeply regrets its decision.”

Abdul Rashid said the use of indelible ink would not be effective as the country’s constitution allows those who refuse to have their fingernail marked with the ink to still be issued with a ballot.

He added that the use of the indelible ink could infringe the constitutional right of a voter to cast his vote, especially if the commission tries to bar someone from voting for having an ink marked in his finger.

“From a practical point of view, the issuance of a ballot paper to such a voter would render the EC’s proposal meaningless and will not bring about a positive result, whilst having the potential to create misunderstanding as well as altercations and arguments at polling stations,” he said.

He added that the Federal Constitution gives Malaysians the right to vote and a black mark on the fingernail should not bar people from exercising this right, he said.

The loophole can only be removed with a constitutional amendment, which requires a vote by parliament, which has been dissolved for elections to take place.

Also present at the press conference were attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail dan inspector general of police Musa Hassan.

– quoted from an article published in Malaysiakini on 4th March 2008 (link)

So its official, indelible ink will not be used in the elections. What is the big deal really? It was useless to begin with! Since it was not legally enforceable, people still had the freedom to cheat the system and vote twice.

The presence of the ink would only lead to rumours that the EC had ‘introduced another measure to protect against voter fraud’, so its official removal from the process is a good thing. Because it would have been a lie – its an incomplete measure, a waste of time and money. Rashid could have avoided mentioning the ‘issue of public order and security’ as an excuse though, what unnecessary nonsense.

Don’t misunderstand me though, I do want indelible ink, whole finger dipped in (not this thin line on fingernail nonsense). But it was quite clear a month ago that it wasn’t going to happen.

Reactions I found confusing

All quotes taken from Malaysiakini (link)

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 clear proof that the “EC is colluding with BN to allow cheating in the coming general elections”.

The lack of enforceability, not cancellation was the clear proof.

Meanwhile PAS leader and member of Bersih’s steering committee Dr Dzulkifli Ahmad also similarly expressed his outraged with EC’s stunning reversal today.

“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.

The demand never went through to begin with.

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng also said that the decision today would only benefit BN as it amounted to the EC sanctioning the ruling party’s “cheating and abuses” in the election.

He said that the EC must also explain as to how the use of indelible ink can threaten public order and security issues.

“It is ridiculous that the use of indelible ink can put the whole country into chaos and ruination,” he said.

He also said that the decision to cancel the use of indelible ink meant that the EC was wasting the RM2 million spent on buying 47,000 bottles of indelible ink.

The bottles of ‘optional to use’ ink was definitely wasted even before today’s news.

Update (6th March) : It occurred to me that the Opposition and NGOs may have been waiting for the EC to issue a directive making the indelible ink legal. I’m not sure how that would happen since an Act would need to be amended, but at least I understand their rage now.

Elections #5
Advertisements

Written by ak57

March 5, 2008 at 6:27 am

Posted in Local News, Malaysian Elections, Politics

Tagged with

Election Dates Announced, Indelible Inkage Still Vague

HappyNominations on 24th Feb, with elections on 8th March? That’s 13 days to campaign, how wonderful! If it was a week like in 2004 I wouldn’t be able to help campaign at all. So the PM dissolves Parliament on the 13th, and the campaign period is 13 days? I know the PM supposedly has a fondness for the number, so is SPR trying to make him chuckle? 🙂

Asked to confirm on the use of indelible ink in the coming election, the EC chief replied: “I will talk about that later. The procedures-procedures are not (main topic) in this session, we are more interested in the (election) dates.”

Pressed again, he retorted: “Did I say cancel? I will call you if there is any change.”

There have been concerns over the introduction of these new measures, since the election laws have not been amended to make them legally binding.

– quoted from an article published in Malaysiakini on 14th February 2008 (link)

The elections have been announced, yet this man does not want to comment on the lack of enforcement of indelible ink? The whole point of having indelible ink is to prevent people from voting twice, it is foolishness on the part of the EC to not enforce it.

Lets take a look back shall we:

Indelible ink to make its mark

PUTRAJAYA: Each polling stream in the coming general election will get two bottles of indelible black ink that will be applied to the left forefinger of voters.

(cut)

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.

Wan Ahmad said only a small mark would be made on the finger and the ink would stay for about two weeks.

– quoted from an article published in The Star on 1st February 2008 (link)

So roughly RM3 million of our money being spent on an ‘optional’ fraud prevention device. See how it will be implemented:

Indelible Ink

That tiny easily concealed line. Even if the usage of indelible ink was mandatory for all voters, it would be a small matter for a corrupt EC official to allow someone to vote twice. A finger dipped in ink for all the world to see, that’s what I want, that’s what makes sense. After all BERSIH has done to push their demands, the smallest reform the EC could have done is the use of indelible ink, and they can’t even get that right.

What’s next, covering up the transparent ballot boxes to prevent the public from seeing their contents?

Elections #5

Written by ak57

February 15, 2008 at 12:40 am