Indelible ink: Whose big idea was it? The EC Chair? Or the Cabinet?(UPDATED)Posted: May 17, 2008
Pak Lah has now refuted what the EC Chairman claimed yesterday that it was the Cabinet who was against using the indelible ink during the last general election.
Abdullah said, although in principle the government made the decision, it was delivered in the form of an opinion and not instruction.
But EC which handles elections in Malaysia has the final say, he said.
Read Kak Ton’s blog here.
The EC Chairman didn’t say that he was forced to make that decision. He said that he agreed with what the Cabinet had said. No dispute there, because that’s what the PM is saying as well. It’s the way they’re saying it I guess.
Because the EC Chairman is saying: “Well, the Cabinet made the decision, and I merely agreed to it. So they are the real culprits.”
But of course, now Pak Lah is saying: “We did make a decision on not to use the ink, technically, but in the end, the EC Chairman could have just disregarded us, and went ahead with his initial plan. He was the one who agreed, so he’s to be responsible.”
It’s like they sat on the same table and ate the same meal (and a very expensive one too!). And now they’re at odds about who’s going to foot the bill.
The indelible ink issue, which started off relatively small, is now full-blown. And it had blown totally out of proportions.
It started off innocently enough, with the indelible ink proposed so that we can all have a fair election, where there won’t be phantom voters, or people wanting to carry out their obligation more than once.
And then, there was a slight outburst when the Elections Commission (EC) decided NOT to go on with the indelible ink 5 days before the GE. The indelible ink had already been shipped into the country, but the EC decided against using it. Something about unscrupulous people using the ink on people who have yet to vote, hence reducing the number of voters.
After GE2008, of course, there was another round of finger-pointing, because Pakatan Rakyat lost by 30 seats. According to Anwar, especially, if the indelible ink was used, there wouldn’t be phantom voters, and the elections would have been fair, and Pakatan Rakyat would be the ones sitting in Putrajaya today.
Not too long ago, it was reported that there was NEVER any shipping of indelible ink into Malaysia at all! Meaning that the reasons given by the EC before the elections were not balid at all! All their decisions were merely based on rumours and hearsay! The EC was under hot fire, especially the EC Chairman.
He was set to retire before the Elections, but a change in the Constitution allowed him to stay on as Chairman. Of course, this raised many eyebrows. Why would they want to keep this man in his seat for an extra year? Something was amiss.
Today, he revealed that the decision to NOT use indelible ink during the elections was made by the Cabinet, and he merely agreed with them.
KUALA LUMPUR: It was the Cabinet that did not approve the use of indelible ink during the March 8 election, Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman disclosed Saturday.
He said he was told to take responsibility for agreeing to it.
“The Cabinet gave two very strong reasons why they did not agree to it – security and the law – Article 119, concerning the basic right for everyone to vote, and I agreed with them,” he said.
Full article here.
Is it becoming a trend to push responsibilities away and onto someone else’s shoulders?
The man can say whatever he wants. In fact, I wouldn’t put it past the Cabinet for wanting him to agree to such a thing.
But he can’t expect to be sympathised now that he’s come out “clean”, and announced that it was not his idea to do away with the indelible ink exercise. It was his basic duty to be independent of the government, and it was his duty to ensure that we had a fair and clean election.
It doesn’t matter if it was the Cabinet’s BIG idea to not use the indelible ink. Because as the Chairman of the Election Commission, he had every right to reprimand the Ministers for stepping into his territory. Did he do that? NO. Did he tell on the Ministers? NO. All he did was state a few reasons why The Election Commission wouldn’t be using the ink.
The Cabinet, on the other hand, would have been downright dirty if what this man is claiming is true. And in the light of today’s developments in the political arena, it couldn’t paint the Pak Lah government more black. It adds substance to Anwar’s claim that there had been phantom voters, and that the elections were not just.
How appropriate for this kind of information to come up at this time, when the talk about defections is at its all-time high.
The EC Chairman has a lot to answer to.
But I have a feeling that Pak Lah and the rest of the old Cabinet would be shot with infinite questions and accusations, that I doubt they’d make it out of the interrogation alive.
Read also Stupid Malaysia.