MCA blames indelible ink row on Bersih’s demands

(The Malay Mail) – “Now that the general election is over, it is now proven that her original idea is messy, impractical and a waste of money and manpower,” Heng added.

MCA’s Datuk Heng Seai Kie today laid the blame for the entire indelible ink fiasco squarely at the door of Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, suggesting the furore over the ink’s inefficacy would not exist had the electoral watchdog not insisted on the safeguard against vote fraud.

Introduced in Election 2013 as a concession to one of Bersih’s eight demands for free and fair elections, the indelible ink meant to prevent repeating voting ironically became a symbol of alleged electoral fraud after voters flooded social media to show the ease with which it was removed.

Although it initially denied the allegations, the Election Commission (EC) has since conceded to the “shortcomings” of the ink that had been meant to last for up to seven days.

Opposition lawmakers, led by PKR’s Rafizi Ramli, have honed in on the EC and the supplier of the controversial ink, but today the MCA Publicity Bureau chairman said they were barking up the wrong tree.

“If PKR Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli wants to blame anyone for the hue and cry over the indelible ink, it should be former Bar Council president and current Bersih chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan as she was the one who had initiated this idea and riled up the crowds to support her in this venture of hers,” Heng said in a statement today.

Pointing to Bersih’s demand for indelible ink to be used, Heng asserted that this led Putrajaya to drop suggestions to employ biometrics for fraud prevention instead.

“Now that the general election is over, it is now proven that her original idea is messy, impractical and a waste of money and manpower,” Hend added.

The failure surrounding the indelible ink has since led Pakatan Rakyat to sue the EC’s commissioners in a bid to annul the result of Election 2013.

After the initial denials, EC deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar explained that the election ink failed to stay on for seven days because the level of silver nitrate — needed to give the ink its permanence — had been kept at just one per cent following the Health Ministry’s recommendations and to meet halal requirements for Muslims.

The matter, however, sank deeper into controversy when Shahidan appeared to communicate that even the one per cent of silver nitrate had not been present, telling Parliament last month that there were “no chemicals” in the ink, and just food colouring.

But Wan Ahmad later contradicted Shahidan and said that the ink did contain one per cent silver nitrate, and that it was likely classified as a metal, instead of a chemical. He said that food dye was used to turn the indelible ink red for early voters and dark blue for ordinary voters.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has also opened an investigation into the procurement of the ink.