Sunday, May 05, 2013

Why Indelible Ink

Today Malaysia votes! In my first job, such a day would have involved me posting up news updates from wherever I was throughout the day. But that was the past and I no longer have to do such work. Anyway, back to the reason why I decided to write this post - the idea behind why indelible ink is used in the 13th General Election. The reason? Because I've noticed that some people (namely some of my Facebook friends) do not understand the concept of using indelible ink.

I've been seeing a number of Facebook status updates chastising other friends on the pettiness of bringing up the issue on the ease in removing the indelible ink which was painted on each of our voting friends' index fingers today. To paraphrase them, "What is the big deal with being able to wash off the indelible ink? The EC (Election Commission) already has enough on its hands with millions of voters to serve!?!"

Personally, my finger is still significantly dyed after washing with Glo dishwashing liquid and a full bath routine including shampooing and a little nail scrubbing. Admittedly, I didn't try hard enough!

But I digress, the point of the matter is that the indelible ink has a rationale behind its use. Yes, one of the purpose is to keep track of whether you and I (as honest and responsible rakyat) have voted. But it doesn't just end there. Its main purpose is to safeguard against phantom voters who intend to vote several times using different identity cards or at different polling centres or by whatever means that they can cook up. In other words, one individual can and should only vote once - as this is our right as a Malaysian. No Malaysian (or foreigner, God forbid) should be allowed to vote more than once in the GE, be it in person today or via postal or overseas vote.

Some may still not grasp the idea of this one rakyat one vote concept. Why should we care what others want to do? Isn't this suppose to be an issue that should be spotted and policed by the EC? The impact of phantom voters should not be seen lightly. 'Rumours' (shall I protect myself in my choice of words, although it has been splashed all over social media about the facts and visual evidence of these so-called 'rumours') have gone around that a certain party has been flying in foreigners mainly from Bangladesh, giving them instant identity cards issued in local rakyat's names or perhaps even fictitious names, for the purpose of voting for that party. IF it is all true, I really don't know how their supporters (who are legit Malaysians) and not to mention the hands and legs facilitating this gross act, can sleep well at night knowing that such manipulative and dishonest acts are being done, in the name of politics. Buying votes and cheating! Devaluing your rights as a Malaysian? Is your citizenship so cheap to you? Prostituting yours and the nation's fundamental rights for a political win? You should ALL be ashamed of yourselves (to those who are involved in this cheating)! Only God can save you when you meet your Maker. *Sorry, got a bit riled up there!*

Part of the role of the EC is to ensure a fair and just election is held. Thus, it is the EC's duty to put in place such internal controls to safeguard from any tampering or manipulation of the voting system. In fact, I believe as an independent body, the EC should have addressed every single doubt raised by the various NGOs - even if the EC did not want to implement the suggestions put forth, a justification should have been provided. After all, the NGOs are just doing their part in providing checks and balances in the conduct of the GE. Their demands and suggestions are not entirely baseless or merely put forth to make the EC's life difficult. Yes, the EC has a tough job on its hands, taking care of 13.3 million voters (correct me if I'm wrong) but it is their mandated job and we, as tax-paying rakyat, deserve a 100% commitment from them. Bear in mind that the RM700 million cost (300% inflated compared to the 12th GE) of the GE is borne by our tax money, not the Governments'. I think another point that many of us miss is that the Government's money is actually the rakyat's money which we pay through the multiple taxes throughout the year. That's why some of us are really pissed off when we hear of misappropriation of money by the Government! All of us should be.

Therefore, back to the issue, the indelible ink is not to doubt whether the honest and responsible rakyat like you and I, would try our luck in voting a second time around today. It is in place to protect our rights as rakyat. And so, if even this has failed the simple tests done by our dear Malaysian Facebook friends, how can we be assured that the GE is free from acts of vice? And that my friend, is the importance of the indelible ink living up to its purpose!

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