08 July 2013

The Election Commission (EC) must disclose the composition of the indelible ink and demonstrate its efficacy before using it in the Kuala Besut by-election due to public mistrust over the ink used in Election 2013. electoral watchdog Bersih said today.

Bersih co-chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan said the EC must be transparent about the contents of the ink, its supplier and the total cost.

"If the EC does not reveal these things, we will not believe in the indelible ink. We have had a bitter experience recently during the 13th General Elections and we definitely do not want a repeat of that experience.

"The EC must tell us the ink's composition and they will have to perform a demonstration on the usage of the new ink to the public to boost confidence in it,

She said Bersih will continue to campaign for the top brass in the EC to resign immediately and not head the Kuala Besut by-election slated for July 24, 2013.

"Bersih is not only urging the EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof and his deputy Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar to resign but all of the current leaders. Our stand in this is the same and will not change.

"If the same EC leadership handles the by-election, the public will lose more confidence in them. That is the point," Ambiga added.

Meanwhile, PKR strategic director Rafizi Ramli joined the chorus in urging the EC to reveal the supplier of the ink used in GE13 and the one to be used in Kuala Besut, and disclose to the public of the contents.

However, he added that even if the EC used indelible ink in the Kuala Besut by-election, the failure of the ink used in GE13 will not be erased.

"If the EC is professional and sincere about conducting the Kuala Besut by-election, it has to solve the crisis of the ink used in GE13," Rafizi said.

Senior Fellow at the Institute Of Southeast Asian Studies Professor Dr James Chin said that the usage of the indelible ink will not be the main focus in Kuala Besut as the people's eyes will be trained on the election itself.

"It is a normal procedure, which was used in GE13 and Kuala Besut won't be any different. I don't think anyone would vote twice as all of our attention will be on Kuala Besut.

"The issue of the indelible ink in Kuala Besut is just a way for the EC to clear its name as we all know that their performance in the last elections was very bad," he said.

Singapore Management University political analyst Associate Professor Dr Bridget Welsh said the EC has to learn from its past mistakes and ensure that the electoral roll used in the by-election was clean.

The Kuala Besut by-election is being held following the death of its assemblyman Dr A. Rahman Mokhtar of a lung disease on June 26, 2013.

The EC has decided nomination day will be on July 12, and the campaign period will be 12 days.

Besut district officer A. Rahim Jusoh was appointed as the returning officer.

Nine polling centres will be opened, including one early voting centre. A total of 305 election workers will be appointed and the estimated cost of the by-election was RM760,000. – July 9, 2013.



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