Thursday, March 6, 2008


Ink issue: Opposition parties cry foul


The Election Commission’s (EC) last-minute decision to cancel the use of indelible ink in the general election this Saturday has drawn much ire from Opposition candidates here, who stopped short of accusing the EC of cheating. Parti Keadilan Rakyat State Liaison Committee Deputy Chief Christina Liew said it is unfair and unacceptable for the Commission to do that just two days before the elections. “It is like a football match. Both teams are all set and satisfied with the ruling but suddenly in the middle of the game, the referee halted the game to tell that there is a change of rules. Of course the players are unhappy. “I do not know the EC’s real motive but I am urging the voters to come out in full force to vote this Saturday,” said the candidate for the Kota Kinabalu parliamentary and Api-Api State seats. Liew, who was met at Gaya Street handing out campaign fliers yesterday, said she had been receiving negative comments from supporters and friends on the EC’s decision and took the EC to task for not explaining the rationale behind the move. “Why must we approach them and ask for the rationale behind the change of mind? They should be the ones to explain to us, the voters, their reasons. I think the EC in Malaysia is the only one that can change the rules at the last minute,” she said. Keadilan State Information chief cum parliamentary candidate for Penampang Dr Edwin Bosie meanwhile charged that the EC’s excuses for cancelling the use of indelible ink as “very lame”. “Even if there are parties who actually buy the ink, what will they do with the ink? I mean, how can it be abused?” he said when contacted. “Only when a voter goes in (to vote) will they dip their hand and then have their name scratched off the list. “If there is an instance where a voter comes in already with ink but claims to have yet to vote, check the electoral roll. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure it out,” he said. Independent parliamentary candidate for Penampang Dr Anthony Tibok also felt that the EC’s sudden decision to cancel out the use of the indelible ink would work against efforts to hold a free and fair election. “I don’t think it will be good. I heard it over the news that the change was made at the last minute but I’m not really sure about the reasons for it. Maybe they still want to promote phantom voters,” he said. Upko candidate for Putatan Datuk Marcus Mojigoh agreed with the EC’s decision, stressing that the RM1 million worth of Indian ink purchased would not go to waste. “We are wise people. We know how to use it, it can be sold to others and I believe that since it is a high quality ink, it would be good for doing calligraphy or for stamping, which is still widely used at all banks and companies.