Malaysiakini: Fatwa Council gives thumbs up to indelible ink

Aug 8, 07
The National Fatwa Council has given the green light to the Election Commission (EC) to use a special ink for marking the thumbs of voters in the next general election.
The decision was announced by the council’s chairperson Dr Abdul Shukor Husin today. He said the decision was reached following a thorough study by the Chemistry Department and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM).

“According to the study, the ink, which is indelible, does not contain unclean elements, is not water resistant or impervious to water and does not contain harmful substances for use on the thumb or nail,” he was quoted as saying by Bernama.

He said the decision did not involve new law or “fatwa” (edict) but was viewed from the Islamic aspect for Muslims to perform their religious obligations.
Abdul Shukor said the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) would officially inform the EC of the decision.

Prevent cheating
It was proposed that the ink be used to mark the thumbs of voters after they have cast their votes to prevent cheating.
Jakim sent a sample of the ink to the Chemistry Department for analysis to ensure that it does not contain elements which could affect Muslims performing their religious obligations since the ink will remain on the skin for two to three days.
Yesterday, EC chairperson Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman said a decision by the National Fatwa Council on the matter was necessary to avoid any doubt among Muslims about the ink.
Last December, Abdul Rashid shot down the idea of using the ink as suggested by opposition parties as it was deemed to be an ‘archaic’ practice.
But in June, Abdul Rashid announced that EC was studying ways of implementing the method which is used in Iraq and India, drawing protests from Barisan Nasional component parties.
He revealed that among the issues being considered by EC in relation to the move was the type of ink to be used and the need to amend the relevant legislation such as the Election (Conduct of Elections) Regulations 1981.