Malaysiakini: Thumbs-up for EC on indelible ink

Several groups which have long demanded the Election Commission (EC) to use indelible ink in the elections to prevent multiple voting have gave the thumbs-up to the latter’s nod on the proposal.

However, they stressed that the two conditions – whether it involves any legal amendment and finding a suitable material of ink to be used – cited by the EC should not be made as excuses to delay the implementation of the proposal.
“If he (EC chief Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman) is serious about it, there is no excuse in delaying the implementation because the amendment can be passed in weeks,” opposition PKR vice-president R Sivarasa said when contacted yesterday.
Sivarasa, who is also a lawyer, said the EC has ample power to carry out such procedural amendment to the Election (Conduct of Elections) Regulations 1981 and the amendment is not required to be tabled to the Parliament since it is not an Act.
Address electoral roll, too
The EC’s decision to use indelible ink in the forthcoming general election was first conveyed to a DAP delegation during a two-hour meeting held at the commission’s headquarters in Putrajaya yesterday.
Abdul Rashid told malaysiakini after the meeting that the EC’s decision was in line with the repeated requests from various groups, especially the opposition.
“Although the reason they used (to call for indelible ink) was very weak as the alleged electoral fraud was not proven in court, we still agree to do this to satisfy them,” Rashid was quoted as saying.
Sivarasa disagreed, saying Rashid was “wrong” in saying the opposition has a weak case.
“We have concrete example of how 12 dead people, with their names, got out from the graves to vote in the Jaya Setia polling station during the recent Ijok by-election,” said the PKR politician.
On the EC’s decision, PAS vice-president Husam Musa quipped: “Now PAS can win Kelantan.”
Husam, who is also a senior state exco in the PAS-ruled Kelantan, had said previously that the Islamic party may lose control of Kelantan in the next election due to electoral irregularities if reforms are not carried not.
He, too, has called for the use of indelible ink and a clean electoral roll.
On a serious note, Husam said: “We welcome the use of indelible ink but there is still a need to address the issue of electoral roll because it poses a bigger threat to free and fair elections, since nobody can challenge the electoral roll even though it is flawed.”
Specific proposal to EC
The Malaysians for Free and Fair Election (Mafrel) chairperson Abdul Malek Hussin said indelible ink has been proven elsewhere as the most effective way to deter multiple voting and voter impersonation.
He said details on how to carry out the proposal have been included in the election watchdog’s report on the Ijok by-election, which is expected to be made public at the end of the month.
“Mafrel will come out with specific proposal on how to implement the practice of indelible ink and what kind of product to be used based on our experience of observing the electoral process in so many countries,” said Malek.
According to him, out of three methods used in other countries to implement the indelible ink, the most efficient way would be to swipe the indelible ink on the thumb of the voter after he casts his vote.
The other two are upon a voter’s entry to the polling station but before collecting the ballot paper, or after the issuance of ballot paper to the voter but before voting.
Malek also stressed that there is necessity to amend the relevant law to make the use of indelible ink as a procedure in the election process because otherwise, it may not be fully implemented.