Sunday July 1, 2012
Indelible ink set to make mark
By RAZAK AHMAD
PETALING JAYA: The indelible ink that will be used for the first time to mark voters in the coming general election is ready to be shipped to Malaysia.
Election Commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said that an order has been placed with a factory which is now on standby to produce and deliver the ink on “very short notice”.
“We cannot ship the ink to Malaysia too early because it will turn bad after a few months, but everything is ready at the factory and it is now just a matter of us instructing them to make the delivery,” he told The Star.
Abdul Aziz declined to identify the factory or its location or when he expects to issue the instruction for delivery but said that sessions would be organised for political parties and non-governmental organisations starting this month to demonstrate the use of the ink.
“Guidelines on the use of the ink which will be applied to a voter's finger before a ballot paper is issued are ready,” he added.
The use of indelible ink was one of the recommendations of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Electoral Reforms and is provided for under The Election Regulations (Conduct of Election) (Amendments) 2012, which came into force on Feb 15.
First mooted in the run-up to the 2008 general election, the use of the ink, which would have cost RM2.4mil, was cancelled three days before the polls on the advice of the Attorney-General because of doubts over its legality.
On the month-long campaign urging the electorate to update their particulars and correct any mistakes, Abdul Aziz said that only 2% or some 280,000 of the 12.9 million registered voters responded.
The EC has given an assurance that all amendments made during the campaign, which ended yesterday, would be reflected in the electoral roll for the second quarter of the year to be gazetted in August.
Voters who missed the deadline have the next three months to update their particulars or correct mistakes for the changes to be included in the roll for the third quarter of the year, which will be gazetted in November.
“I am very disappointed, but what can we do? We can only appeal to voters to update their particulars and correct any mistakes, but people keep blaming us (when amendments are not made),” Abdul Aziz said.
He also said that only an estimated 130,000 of the 3.3 million Malaysians who had yet to register as voters in the second quarter of this year had responded to pleas for them to sign up.