Minister: IC critical for polls, not indelible ink

(MM) – Identity cards were sufficient to prevent fraudulent voting, Minister Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim said today in a bid to deflect further attacks over the indelible ink.

The indelible ink, which was used for the first time in May 5 general election, has been criticised as ineffective in preventing electoral fraud and double-voting after some voters complained that it washed off easily.

Shahidan pointed out that identity cards were used in the previous elections that Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had gone through, saying that the indelible ink was only introduced recently by a parliamentary select committee on electoral reforms.

“When we introduced the indelible ink, people forget that what is important is the identity card,” Shahidan, a minister in the Prime Minister’s department, said during his winding-up speech in Parliament today.

Shahidan explained that a finger dipped in indelible ink would not enable a voter to cast ballots during an election, pointing to the identity card instead as being crucial for voters.

“Identity card – that is the basic thing that must exist for elections, so indelible ink is not everything,” the Arau MP added.

But Subang MP Sivarasa Rasiah quickly pointed out that the indelible ink was introduced in Election 2013 because of doubts over the integrity of the electoral roll.

The Election Commission (EC) has been criticised for failing to ensure that the electoral roll, which contains the names of registered voters and their IC numbers, is free of irregularities.

Batu MP Chua Tian Chang also said in Parliament that the main issue was the identity of the indelible ink’s supplier.

Earlier today, Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli brought up the issue of indelible ink while debating a Bill on the supplementary budget.

The first-term MP from PKR also disclosed in Parliament the identity of the man who had allegedly bypassed the open tender process and supplied the indelible ink to the EC through his companies.