In July, two historic precedents were set for the nation. Local government elections returned to Malaysia after a hiatus of 46 years when Pulau Ketam in Selangor held an election for its village head on 31 July 2011. More than 1200 eligible voters turned out to cast their votes in this watershed contest for the island. The eventual winner of the contest was the incumbent village chief Cha Keng Lee, who won with a 299-votes majority.
As the Election Commission (EC) had refused to help in this election, the state government through the Klang District Office’s assistance undertook the task of organising it. The elections ran smoothly without any incidents.
Another precedent was set during the village chief elections when indelible ink was employed to prevent multiple voting and fraud by voters. The indelible ink is painted on the finger nails of voters to identify that a voter who has voted will not be allowed to vote again.
According to Sin Chew Jit Poh, which carried the story on its metro section, the election organisers said that the ink, also known as henna ink, can be traceable on a person’s fingernails for up to two days without being erased. Henna is a type of plant (Lawsonia inermis) which is green in appearance when dried up and grounded to powdery form. The herbal-smelling powder, when mixed with water, will appear orange.
The successful implementation of the indelible ink method now casts more doubts on the EC and federal government’s foot-dragging on its implementation. Currently the EC is studying a proposal to use the relatively costly biometric system instead of the indelible ink method for the same purpose.
In addition, the election organisers undertook to print the picture of the candidates on the ballot paper. This was to enable any illiterate voters to recognise their preferred candidates and make the right choice when voting.
After the voters were identified in the electoral roll, the election clerk will paint the indelible ink on the voter’s fingernail. Some voters who decided to test the ink’s indelibleness, attempted to wash it off using soap and water. The ink stood up to the test. -The Rocket