Pulau Ketam scores first in using indelible ink

Lee Weng Keat
Jul 31, 11
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Selangor's Pulau Ketam is scoring two firsts in Malaysian history in holding its Chinese village head election today; as the first state-initiated attempt to revive the practice in 46 years, and in the use of indelible ink in the voting process to prevent election fraud.

Selangor Exco Ean Yong Hian Wah, who is piloting the return of the village head election in three villages, explained that local elections were frozen in 1965.

The Chinese village in Klang is the first in a state driven initiative to revive the practice since that time, although Perak had also briefly toyed with the idea, during Pakatan Rakyat's short tenure as the Perak government earlier.

When contacted by Malaysiakini, Ean Yong said the elections were employing indelible ink to prevent multiple voting.

He explained the process for the day's voting, where every villager upon receiving a ballot paper had his or her thumbnail marked with indelible ink.

When asked, Ean Yong said that all went smooth and he received no complaints over the new policy.

Indelible ink is one of the key demands of the Bersih 2.0 movement that rallied on July 9 for electoral reforms in the national system. It is said to be inexpensive and effective and easily implemented in contrast to the high-tech biometric system the government has since proposed.

'Cheap and efficient'

Ean Yong added that the use of indelible ink did out of the blue.

“We had planned this at the very beginning of organising these electons, but at that time we had not found a suitable type of ink, so we had not announce it then.

“Recently, we found the right ink. We decide to use a kind of ink used by the Indians and Malays to draw patterns on their hands during festive seasons. The ink takes three to five days to fade off,” he said.

He added that the ink is cheap costing just a few ringgit a bottle, so it is a cost effective and efficient way to prevent multiple voting.

The Pulau Ketam voting started at 8am, with villagers eagerly queueing at the voting station, waiting their turn.

Voting closed at 4pm, and the result were released at 5.45pm, where incumbent village head Cha Keng Lee trounced his challenger Chua Chin Song with a 299 majority, bagging 749 votes in total.

1,221 voters polled today, with 22 spoiled votes.

A first step

Ean Yong hailed today's village head election as “the first step towards reviving local elections.”

“In 1965, during the Confrontation period, village head elections were frozen, and today, after 46 long years, we have revived it once again.”

For the pilot initiative, the Selangor government had selected three Chinese new villages in the Klang district as the pioneers: Kampung Baru Sungai Jarom in Jenjarom, Kampung Bagan in Pulau Ketam and Kampung Baru Pandamaran.

In Sungai Jarom, incumbent village head Tan Ching Hin retained his position uncontested during nomination day last Sunday.

Meanwhile Pandamaran new village will hold its election next Sunday.