27 June 2013

Even as Nurul Izzah Anwar of the opposition yesterday threatened to take legal action against the Election Commission (EC) for the indelible ink fiasco, the EC says it will use that ink again for the coming by-election in Terengganu.

“Yes, the indelible ink will be used,” said vice-chairman of the Election Commission Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar (pic) when contacted by The Malaysian Insider yesterday.

“We’ll discuss next week if we’re using the same ink as the one used during the 13th general elections,” said Wan Ahmad, referring to the EC meeting next week on the by-election.

The state seat for Kuala Besut is vacant, following the death of Barisan Nasional’s (BN) elected representative, Dr. A. Rahman Mokhtar, 55, yesterday morning from lung cancer.

Meanwhile, the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) has threatened legal action to get the entire EC sacked. 

"We will take legal action over this matter," said Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar. "How can we let them get away with this? We, Pakatan Rakyat leaders, will make sure the disparaged and the discredited officials of the EC face the course of the law. It was something so fundamental and crucial."

 The PR has also demanded that a new EC team take charge of the by-election. The MP added that the present commission had five years to bring about reforms but failed to do it.

"How can we allow them to use that same ink, when they have hoodwinked the nation?" she questioned.

The indelible ink was a hot button issue from the day it was announced it would be used. On polling day, voters found the so-called indelible ink was anything but. 

Yesterday, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim revealed to Parliament that food colouring was used.

But Putrajaya MP Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor defended the use of that ink, saying the EC had been concerned about using too much chemicals.

"We are a responsible government who care about the people. We don’t want to hurt the people.

"We know in India they use the ink and it lasts for 2 months but it is not good."

When it was put to him that that the purpose of the ink was for it to last, Tengku Adnan said that Malaysia did not need the ink.

"We are not a third-world country. We have ICs. They use it because they don't have identification documents," Tengku Adnan responded, referring to India’s lack of personal identity cards.

But the promise to use indelible ink again in Terengganu is surely going to meet strong protest as the by-election there is an important one that could possibly even decide the next state government of Terengganu, as it would lead to a hung state assembly if BN loses this seat.

BN has 17 state legislative seats while PR has 15.

Meanwhile, Wan Ahmad also told The Malaysian Insider that the EC will again elect only non-governmental organisations to be observers for the Kuala Besut by-election.

“There will be observers at the by-election this time,” he said. – June 28, 2013.


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