XIII Malaysia General Election – What’s New?

PUTRAJAYA: All voters, except postal voters, will be required to have their fingers marked with indelible ink when voting in the next general election.

Election Commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof, who announced the decision, said the commission had agreed to several recommendations by the Parliamentary Select Committee on electoral reforms, and the use of indelible ink was one of them.

He said the ink, which contains silver nitrate, had been identified and sent to various departments for further testing to ensure it was safe.

These include the Chemistry Department, Department of Islamic Development (Jakim), National Fatwa Council and the Health Ministry.

“We want to make sure the ink is not removable, and will stay on a person’s finger for at least a few days,” Abdul Aziz said at a press conference yesterday.

“We also want to make sure it does not affect the religious practices of Muslim voters,” he added, while mentioning that the ink has been used for Muslims in some countries.

Abdul Aziz said that after the indelible ink requirement was implemented, there would not be any need for a biometric voter verification system.

He noted that the use of the ink should prevent multiple voting.

The EC had planned to use indelible ink in the 2008 general election and had spent RM2.4mil buying the ink but cancelled the move at the last minute, citing public order and security issues.

The use of indelible ink is also a key demand of the Bersih coalition for electoral reforms.

In the next general election, all military personnel and members of the General Operations Force, as well as their spouses, and the police force will vote two to three days before polling day.

Those who are based away from their polling stations can apply to be postal voters.

“The postal vote (system) is also open to Election Commission personnel who cannot vote on polling day,” said Abdul Aziz.

While he did not give a time frame for all the reforms to take place, he indicated that they would all be in place by the next general election.

Meanwhile in PENANG, committee chairman Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili said it was preparing 10 new proposals which would be tabled in Parliament in March.

The Science, Technology and Innovation Minister, who chaired a two-day public hearing which began yesterday, said the committee had earlier tabled the 10 proposals to Parliament, including the use of indelible ink.

“I hope that after completing the public hearings at the end of January, we can begin preparing the summary of the 10 new proposals,” he told reporters during a break from the public hearing at Dewan Sri Pinang yesterday.

He said the proposal paper for the second tabling would take time as there were many suggestions for which it was difficult to obtain a unanimous decision.

Election Commission accepts parliamentary select committee’s proposal for five changes

Indelible ink

Voters will have their fingers marked with the ink before they cast their ballot to prevent multiple voting.

Early voting

Military personnel and their spouses, members of the General Operations Force and their spouses, and the police force will vote two to three days earlier. Only those based away from their polling stations, including EC personnel, can apply to be postal voters.

Objection period

The EC is doing away with the one-hour objection period for candidates to raise objections. Unhappy candidates can seek legal recourse. Candidates cannot pull out once their nominations are accepted.

Electoral rolls

These will be displayed every quarter for two weeks instead of the current one week and the rolls will be constantly updated.

Disabled voters

They may be accompanied by a guardian or someone they trust. Now, only relatives are allowed to help them mark ballots.

[Source : The Star Online]

XIII Malaysia General Election – What’s New?

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