Election commission may replace ink with biometric system

An elderly Muslim woman casts her vote at the polling station in Permatang Pauh, Penang on May 5, 2013.

PETALING JAYA - The Election Commission is looking into replacing the indelible ink with a biometric system as proposed by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim.

Its deputy chairman Datuk Wira Wan Ahmad Wan Omar said amendments to the laws must be made if it were to scrap the use of indelible ink.

"We are still scrutinising the matter internally," he said, adding that the biometric system should be more suitable for Malaysia as it was at the forefront of digital as well as information and communication technology.

He pointed out that the national registry system and MyKad were among the best in the world.

"Using indelible ink (which was mooted by the Opposition) is retrogressive. Only third-world countries use it. We have the best database of citizens. So, why should we use indelible ink like a third-world country?" he said.

He was commenting on Shahi­dan's statement in Parliament that the Government was open to the idea of scrapping the indelible ink and replacing this with the biometric system.

Wan Ahmad said that although the idea to implement indelible ink came from the Opposition, it had become a subject of ridicule due to a politically motivated agenda.

"There was no incident of double voting in the 13th general election. This goes to show that even those who went to the extreme by washing off the ink from their fingers would not have succeeded in voting twice," he said.

Denying Opposition MP Rafizi Ramli's allegation that he had close ties with the ink supplier, Wan Ahmad said he was not involved at all in the procurement of the ink as this was handled by the commission's officers.

"I cannot speak for anyone else but I am absolutely not involved at all in any aspect relating to obtaining the supply of the ink. The EC officers handled the procurement of the ink based on requirements set by the commission's top management. Everything that they did during this process was in accordance to the rules and was ultimately approved by the Finance Ministry," he said.

On Tuesday, Rafizi had told Dewan Rakyat that the ink was supplied by Integrated Challenger Malaysia Sdn Bhd via direct negotiation for a RM6.9mil contract and that the company's owner was close to government leaders, including the EC chairman and deputy chairman.

Commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof had since been quoted in an online news portal as refuting any ties to the supplier.

Wan Ahmad also said the EC's current priority was to set up a working group to look into allegations related to the electoral roll.

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