‘Expose culprits delaying indelible ink rule’

(Harakah Daily) – The former Election Commission chief’s criticism of the body’s latest about-turn on the use of indelible ink in the next general election has raised questions over who is delaying its implementation.

“So, who’s the real culprit delaying the use of indelible ink?” asked Youth’s Democracy Restoration and Mobilisation bureau chairman Suhaizan Kaiat.

Earlier, former EC chief Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman (right) described the EC’s excuse that more time was needed to study the use of the indelible ink as a “joke”.

In an interview with news portal Malaysiakini, Rashid said the last-minute reversal in 2008 of a decision to use the ink, which is to curb instances of a voter voting more than once, was his biggest failure as an election official, and had prompted him to mull resignation.

Rashid blamed “the attitude of some sectors of the government” for the reversal, adding that they were “uncivilised and stupid” for that decision, he told Malaysiakini.

Following the revelation, Suhaizan said Rashid should now come clear and expose those dragging the matter.

“Who is actually blocking the use of indelible ink in the election? This is something Rashid himself must answer as someone with experience and who had been directly involved in the matter,” he added.

Suhaizan said indelible ink had been proven practical and effective in preventing double voting.

Recently concluded elections in several developing countries, including in Tunisia which saw Islamist party Ennahda emerging as winner, also used indelible ink on voters. Ink is normally applied to the left hand index finger, especially to the cuticle to slow down its disappearance. It normally remains visible for at least 72 hours, and will take 2-3 weeks for the cuticle to be free of all signs of staining.

“The method is far more effective than the costly biometric system. If indelible ink can’t be used, what other method can be used to ensure a transparent and fair election in the country?” asked Suhaizan, referring to an earlier decision by the government to use the controversial biometric system.

Prior to this, PAS Youth information chief Riduan Mohd Nor rapped the EC for claiming that the implementation of indelible ink depended upon an approval from the National Fatwa Council, stating that the Council had already made it clear that the ink was allowed on Muslims, especially in performing ablution and prayer.