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Election Commission Scrapped Indelible Ink

Malaysia’s hopes of staging the most transparent elections in its history was dealt a serious blow when the Election Commission(EC) announced that it had scrapped the plan to use indelible ink in Election 2008.

Under the EC plan, the ink would have been applied on a voter’s fingernail only after he voted, and not before. It was meant to discourage multiple-voting. The EC has been saying all along that it is committed to having more transparent polls, using transparent boxes and cleaning up the electoral rolls.

blow to clean election image

The cancellation of the use of indelible ink would be interpreted as the EC is working hand-in-hand with the Barisan Nasional(BN) to cheat in the elections. It is likely to galvanize the Opposition in the home stretch and bring back the spectra of phantom voters – the presence of unregistered voters.

The EC said it reached the decision after questions were raised over the sanctity of indelible ink, with reports that some people had corrupted the plan by importing consignments of the ink from Thailand. The decision brought howls of protests from the Opposition and it is certainly going to invite serious scrutiny in the international media, which have in the past month reported widely on steps to make elections here more transparent.

At a press conference yesterday, EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman cited security and public order issues, cancelling the use of indelible ink. He said that police had received reports that some people had bought indelible ink from overseas and were planning to create chaos and arouse suspicion over the status of voters.

He declined to say more but it is learnt that reports show that some people have bought consignments of indelible ink from Thailand. There were fears that this consignment could be used to alter the results of voting in the border states of Kelantan and Terengganu.

Police said yesterday that they were questioning four people who lodged police reports between Feb 16 and Feb 21 that indelible ink was being imported from neighboring countries. It is learnt that police believe that syndicates were planning to tell rural voters that they had to apply the ink before going to vote – a move which would have marked them out as having voted already.

Dr Syed Husin Ali, the deputy president of Parti Keadilan Rakyat, said: “BN intelligence must clearly be sensing a swing towards the Opposition, thus forcing them to resort once again to phantom voters and other forms of cheating to minimize electoral losses they clearly must be anticipating. BN is taking no chances,” he said.

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4 Comments so far

  1. no imageKY (Check me out!) on March 5th, 2008

    This is all so obvious.. sigh.

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  2. no imageqasrul (Check me out!) on March 6th, 2008

    Does all this planned??

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  3. no imagewhh (Check me out!) on March 6th, 2008

    they think the people/voters is stupid, they think people don’t know after you being ink at finger you cannot voted again,at the begaining they already plant not to use this ink/system because they are the same ( kerajaan and SPR, they control DARTAR PEMILIH, they make their own voter BN can vote at few places to make sure their winning on election, at begainning SPR show election is fair but buy the end they are BN side , this is one dirty plot.cheating in election on their side SPR are BN family member..

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  4. no imageSean E (Check me out!) on March 13th, 2008

    If you want to have a better future for our children in Malaysia, do your part by signing the on-line petition at

    This is one of the way (non-violence) to bring our message to the Government.

    Don’t just sit there, stand up and be counted! We want a fair and transparent election.


    1) Gerrymandering. The discrepancy between number of voters in voting areas is too great. The smallest parliamentary seat (Federal Territory, Putrajaya) has only 6,608 voters while the parliamentary seat for Kapar in Selangor has 112,224 voters. What this means is that one vote in the Putrajaya parliamentary constituency is equivalent to 17 votes in the Kapar constituency.

    2) Phantom voters. A common tactic is to ‘buy’ the identity card of the voters. Party members from the ruling parties will then vote on the voters’ behalf. Random checking of a person’s identity must be conducted using those finger print checking device (like the bank use). Any voting done on another person’s identity must be made a serious offence under the election law.

    3) Postal votes. The rules on postal voting must be reviewed, tightened and amended. The current rule favours the ruling party as the armed forces personnel and policemen who vote by ‘postal voting’ would obviously not jeopardize their career or promotion prospect by voting for the opposition. Voting under postal voting is not secret as it is under the watchful eyes of the senior officers. Christina Liew of DAP (Api-Api) lost due to postal votes. The ruling party has control of 250,000 postal votes!

    4) Spoiled votes. How do we define spoiled votes. It is very easy to turn good votes into spoiled votes (by adding one more x to the ballot paper). Are spoiled votes being verified and watched over by the party representatives? In marginal areas in which the winning margin is razor thin, the so-called spoiled votes need to be scrutinized.

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