EC murky on future of ‘indelible’ ink

(The Malay Mail) – The Election Commission (EC) yesterday refused to confirm if the “indelible” ink introduced in the general election will be used in the upcoming poll for the Kuala Besut state seat.

According to commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusoff, the decision may possibly be announced next week.

“Should be next week, not certain yet,” Aziz was quoted as saying by the Sinar Harian news portal yesterday.

The EC has come under fire over the “indelible” ink it rolled out in Election 2013 to prevent repeat voting, after voters complained that it readily washed off using water and household cleaning compounds.

When fending off criticism of the ink’s apparent inefficacy, the commission had said this was due to the low content of silver nitrate — just 1 per cent — in order to make it suitable for Muslims.

But even this was thrown into question after Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim told Parliament on Wednesday that the ink contained no chemicals and only food dye.

The EC insisted, however, that the ink used contained silver nitrate to make it indelible.

“There is indeed silver nitrate,” EC deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar told The Malay Mail Online on Wednesday.

Wan Ahmad said silver nitrate was likely classified as a metal, instead of a chemical, adding that food colouring was used to turn the indelible ink red for early voters and dark blue for ordinary voters.

The EC yesterday acknowledged receiving the notification of Kuala Besut assemblyman Dr A. Rahman Mokhtar’s death, and must now conduct a by-election to elect a replacement for the Terengganu state assembly within 60 days.

Rahman died of lung cancer at the Hospital Sultanah Nur Zahirah in Kuala Terengganu on Wednesday.