PUTRAJAYA — The Election Commission today announced that the July 24 Kuala Besut by-election will utilise a high-technology invisible ink to ensure a clean and fair voting process.
EC Chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Yusof said the decision was made based on the post-mortem on the use of the indelible ink in the 13th General Election, which was heavily criticised by several parties for its non-permanency, casting doubt on the electoral integrity. Stressing that the new ink, made from high-grade, permanent invisible pigments of natural origins, would leave no room for doubt, he said that it was chosen to ‘silence the critics’.
“The recently-concluded election was the first time we used indelible ink and admittedly, there were some weaknesses,” said Aziz. “Among them were the ink was easy to be removed, slow to dry and caused difficulties to voters since it could stain the ballot papers.
“However, we’ve learned from these weaknesses and have taken the necessary steps to ensure this by-election process is air-tight. Unlike the indelible ink used in GE13, the invisible ink we are using in Kuala Besut can never be washed off, no matter how hard you try,” said Aziz confidently.
With an assistant demonstrating the effectiveness and ultra-permanent properties of the ink, Aziz said that the invisibility of the liquid would make it virtually impossible for would-be fraudsters to do their dirty deed.
“While in May, those who may have thought about voting twice found it possible to wash off the coloured ink from their fingers, this time, since they won’t be able to see the ‘before-and-after’ effect of any attempted washing, they would never be able to know if they’ve really managed to remove the ink successfully!” declared Aziz, showing his assistant’s clean, untainted index finger to reporters after laboriously scrubbing it with 8 different kinds of soap, cleansers, solvents and lotions. “I ask you now — can you see any difference on this finger from the time it got painted just now?”
Aziz assured the public that the invisible ink, designed to last for at least a week, is halal and completely safe.
“Don’t worry, the ink is both JAKIM and SIRIM certified, it is very safe and would not impede any normal activity. Also, unlike the indelible ink used before, it would not stain your ballot paper or your clothes.”
Answering a question about a statement by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim that the indelible ink used in GE13 was actually only food colouring, Aziz said that it was a simple misunderstanding, based on different interpretations of what ‘indelible’ means.
“Well, if you think about it, ‘indelible’ strongly alludes to food,” Aziz explained. “What does ‘deli’ mean? It’s short for ‘delicatessen‘, a place where food is served, and ‘indelible’ simply means [in] here is food [deli], and it is edi[ble]. See? Moreover, the word ‘delicious’ also has ‘deli’ in it, so technically we were right.”
Aziz said that it was crucial for EC to ensure that the process and tools are absolutely tamper-proof.
“We will always do more than what is necessary to make sure everyone is confident in the election results. In fact, in order to further strengthen the process, we have instructed our officers tasked with applying the invisible ink on each voter’s finger to paint clear water on their other 9 fingers, as a ‘placebo’ control mechanism. This way, the voter would never really know which finger had been painted with the actual invisible ink, and would not be able to wash it off,” he said.
“This move will prove to everyone that we are clear and transparent, like the invisible ink.”