Most Expensive Food Colouring

Read these first:-

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(In the end, it was nothing but just a food colouring? Didn’t we paid RM7.1 million for it? Cartoonist Zunar – Malaysiakini say it all)

Here’s one to digest for your lovely weekend.

It is an interesting article in Malaysiakini (reproduced at Anwar Ibrahim Blog) on the issue of indelible ink used in the last general election. Considering that there has been a greater call for the EC chief to step down and too many complaints against the quality of the indelible ink in the last elections makes this a good reading.

The interesting snippets from that article was on the chronology of event and the excuses given by the EC on whether to use or not the indelible ink and the quality of the indelible ink against the various complaints from the voters & oppositions alike:-

In 2008, the use of indelible ink in GE12 was stopped at the last minute. At a forum on ‘Free and Fair Elections: Reality or Illusion?’ in Kota Baru in January 2012, the former EC chairperson Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman claimed that the EC was banned from using indelible ink in GE12 because it contravened Article 119 of the federal constitution.

PAS vice-president Husam Musa had challenged this and said that Abdul Rashid had announced on national television then, that the ban was for security concerns. Abdul Rashid had claimed that various people had obtained a similar ink and were using it to trick rural Malaysians into staining their fingers before voting.

Former minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz confessed that it was he who had prevented the use of the indelible ink prior to the 2008 general election.

He cited constitutional concerns and the worry that Muslims would be unable to perform the proper ablutions for prayers. He denied Husam’s claim that the Fatwa Council had endorsed the use of indelible ink in the 2008 general election.

On May 1, complaints about the indelible ink prompted EC secretary Kamaruddin Mohamed Baria to say that tests had shown that fingers painted with ink from shaken bottles lasted longer than the ink from bottles which had not been shaken.

In an interview with the Straits Times of Singapore on May 12, EC chairperson Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof claimed that silver nitrate in the ink was dangerous, and that the Health Ministry had warned about the possible damage to kidneys and risk of cancer. Meanwhile, a mainstream paper claimed on May 29 that several people had been harassed for lodging police reports on the indelible ink.

On June 6, Health Minister Dr S Subramaniam scotched Abdul Aziz’s claim and denied issuing a report about the harmful risks to health from silver nitrate.

On June 17, Abdul Aziz then blamed God for the poor performance of the ink. The ink had been tested prior to GE13 and he said: “On the much-awaited day, the power of Allah is greater when the ink could disappear after being washed several times. Where is the mistake?” [sic]

On June 21, the EC vice-chairperson Wan Ahmad Wan Omar said a special internal team would be formed to discover if the ink had suffered from internal sabotage.

On June 26, Shahidan Kassim, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, said the ink was actually food colouring. He said, “No chemicals were used in the ink, they were instead replaced with food colouring ingredients which were approved.”

On June 27, the Federal Territories Minister Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said that Malaysia is “not a Third World country” and so does not need indelible ink in its elections. He said that Parliament agreed to its use because “the opposition wanted it”.

By June 28, various NGOs were demanding details of the supplier of the ink. Despite the lies and furore surrounding the indelible ink, Wan Ahmad said that the ink would be used in the Kuala Besut by-election in Terengganu.

Indelible ink, which will last for more than a week, will restore democracy to Malaysia and smite the foes of the rakyat.

(Source)

So did the EC or did they not screw up things with the indelible ink in the last general elections? Did we end up paying through our noses for something that is not? And of course, the final say in idiocy came from the politician who said that the Parliament agreed to its use because “the opposition wanted it”. The opposition wanted a lot of things before the election but did the Parliament or the Government agreed to it? Think about it.

Have a good weekend!

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