26 June 2013

 Food colouring, not chemicals, was in the indelible ink used in the general election, the Election Commission (EC) admitted today in the Dewan Rakyat.

"No chemical was used in the ink but it was instead replaced with permitted food colouring," said Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim in his reply to Segambut Member of Parliament Lim Lip Eng.

His statement was in stark contrast with the EC's claim that it used silver nitrate in the ink. He said the absence of the required chemical was the reason the ink was easily washed off.

Shahidan also said that the expiry date of the ink was four months from the date it was issued but blamed voters for purposely trying to wash off the ink as the reason why it was not permanent.

"How long the ink remains depends on the individual and the efforts put in to wash it off."

In a written response, Shahidan also told the Dewan Rakyat that RM6.9 million had been spent on the ink, with an additional RM200,000 spent on transportation, packaging and storage, bringing the total expenditure to RM7.1 million.

He added that the EC did not plan to release information related to the suppliers for security reasons.

Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had urged voters to lodge police reports on polling day after many of them showed how easily the ink could be washed off their fingers.

EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof also announced the formation of a special task force to investigate the reasons why it could be easily washed off.

Barisan Nasional won 133 parliamentary seats in the May 5 polls, 21 seats more than the 112 required to form a simple majority government.

However, this was BN's smallest win since the country achieved independence in 1957. Pakatan Rakyat continues to refuse to accept the results and point to the fact that it had won 51% of the popular vote compared with BN's 48 %.

PR has also filed 39 election petitions to challenge the results in 25 parliamentary and 14 state seats where BN won by small majorities.

Despite the protests against the outcome of the polls, the EC insisted that it had carried out the elections in a fair manner, pointing out that the highest ever voter attendance of 84.84% was evidence of confidence in the electoral process. - June 26, 2013.


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