(TheStar) PUTRAJAYA: The Election Commission has cancelled the use of indelible ink in polling this Saturday, citing public order and security reasons.
Its chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman said following a meeting held Tuesday, the EC was obliged to make a firm and final decision to ensure the smooth conduct of the 12th general election.
He said provisions to the law needed if the ink was to be used still could not affect the constitutional right of a voter to cast his vote, even a person whose fingernail had been marked with indelible ink or one who refuses to have his or her fingernail marked this way.
"From a practical point of view, the issuance of a ballot paper to such a voter would render the EC's proposal meaningless and will not bring about a positive result, whilst having the potential to create misunderstanding as well as altercations and arguments at polling stations," he said.
The Federal Constitution gives you the right to vote, and a black mark on your fingernail should not bar you from exercising this right, he said.
Abdul Rashid said there were also reports made to the police confirming that certain irresponsible quarters had purchased indelible ink from abroad with the intention of creating confusion and suspicion as to the status of voters.
"The EC views these issues seriously as the election process and public order and security cannot be compromised," he said.
The use of indelible ink was first proposed last June to safeguard against multiple or phantom voting. Abdul Rashid then said that the system would be subject to amendments to the Election (Conduct of Election) Regulation 1981.
He said indelible ink had been chosen over other measures, such as a biometric system working off the MyKad (chip-based identity card carried by all Malaysians above the age of 12) because such such smartcard readers would have cost about RM60,000 each, and every voting stream would have to be equipped with one. Using such a system would have cost in excess of RM30mil. The commission bought about 47,000 bottles of the indelible ink, manufactured in India, for RM2mil.
* More info from Malaysiakini.