KUALA LUMPUR: The use of indelible ink to safeguard against multiple or phantom voting will be introduced at the next general election – if everything goes as planned by the Election Commission (EC).
EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman said the matter has been agreed to in principle, following requests by political parties and other groups.
He said the system would be subject to amendments to the Election (Conduct of
Election) Regulation 1981 and the understanding that the ink to be used would not create controversy.
The system provides for election officials to swipe an indelible ink on the thumb of the voter after he or she collects the ballot papers.
This means that the voter, once he or she comes out of the polling station, would be caught if he or she tries to vote again at another station.
Abdul Rashid said the EC had always held that the system was outdated although many countries practised it.
“But we will do it, nevertheless, if only to put the matter to rest.
“Otherwise, some parties will continue to capitalise and politicise this issue.
“We will adopt it, just so they will stop hounding us,” he told The Star.
Asked about the change of heart when the EC had previously rejected the proposal, Abdul Rashid clarified:
“I had never totally rejected the suggestion. It is just that, in this modern era, it does not look good. Our country is very progressive.
“But they (proponents of the system) are making such an issue of the matter and blaming the lack of it for the problem of phantom voters and impersonations.
“So, we say okay”.
Abdul Rashid said the EC had also considered the use of the biometric system but found it costly, as each reader would cost about RM60,000 and every voting stream would have to be equipped with it.
“With the number of streams that we have now, the cost will exceed RM30mil.
“For machines we will use only once in five years, that will be sheer waste,” he added.
Abdul Rashid said that another option was to get voters to put down their thumbprints against their names in the electoral roll.
However, that would be too cumbersome for election workers.