Most Expensive Food Colouring


Read these first:-

de5ed5d592987b2966d20d6dfb21457b

(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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GE13: GE Videos & EC Boo-Boos


Johor-ceramah-crowds

(No doubt the number of crowd attending the ceramahs may not translate into confirmed votes but the sheer number of people attending the recent ceramahs In Johore should have given the BN fellows something to ponder on. Image source: Anilnetto)

Just 2 days to go before we will know whether we will see another 5 years of corruption, race based policies, double standards on enforcement & deployment, wastage of tax-payers money, “we are still better than Zimbabwe” nonsense, culture of fear & disunity, cronyism, MACC (still) have no power to catch the big fish and insult to fellow Malaysians OR dawn of a new era for Malaysia.

And already there are allegations of vote rigging and movements of phantom voters (mainly foreigners). If BN had denied outright and laughed at it, we could have labelled Anwar’s allegations as a serious spin and a desperate move. But instead they actually admitted that such flights are taking place but they claim that it is for the Malaysian voters and it is financed by a mysterious  “friends of BN”. Who are they really, this friends of BN? Perhaps they are the same jokers who took the expensive advertisement for the so-called First Lady of Malaysia. Anyway, since it seems Pakatan fellows are “doing the same” (unfortunately they can only afford buses instead of planes), let’s put this aside – on who is right or wrong will depend on whether you end up seeing strings of nervous Banglas & Indons at polling station on Sunday.

But probably the biggest news when it comes to EC and their blunders would be on the indelible ink which some have alleged can be cleaned off immediately. The blunder is not on the fact that the indelible ink were washable without trace – as EC had mentioned, the ink is an indelible ink and not permanent ink. Depending on washing agents used, it will remove the ink to some extent; I am pretty sure of it although the latest EC’s demo shows otherwise.

The blunder however is on the failure of the processes in dealing with the said indelible ink. Why it was not shaken as the process requires it to be? EC claims that their officers were “nervous” and thus failed to follow the right procedures. Such excuse is not acceptable especially when it is for the first time the indelible ink is being used, there are certain expectations on the deployment of the ink and the EC officers have been trained before and are professionals. Didn’t they do a dry run before this? Because of this blunder, now hangs a question of whether in the coming polling day, there will be more officers getting “nervous” and failed to shake the bottles right. If this happens, EC would have a serious issue of integrity and accountability.

In the meantime, enjoy these interesting videos that touch on the upcoming election and the need to pick the right Government (p.s. MIC’s one is in for the joke – now that Hindraf is the sleeping partner of BN and leads the “fight for the Indians”, MIC indeed had become one big joke):-

Undilah

PKFZ Scandal

MIC Song Parody

Hindraf & Nambekei

3 Questions for BN

Please also read also Rafizi Ramli’s Open Letter as well.

Have a good day on Sunday and vote wisely. Vote for the Government that plans for the future and politicians who see Malaysians as their boss and not the other way around. Don’t vote on what you have seen, paid and experienced in the last few months – judge the politicians on what they have done and said in the last 5 years. Reward them or punish them accordingly and don’t fall for the (overwhelming) overdose of “feel good” propagandas and vote-buying “gifts” – it does not guarantee a bright future.

Biometrics vs Indelible Ink


UPDATE: Read here and here for interesting readers’ comments – an interesting link on how introduction of biometrics could mean millions in revenue for those will be supplying the whole package and why it is not worth the investment in the first place.

Back to the original post

(Showing the middle finger to indelible ink? Image source: http://www.wn.com)

Read this first:-

The Election Commission (EC) will introduce the biometric voter verification system to beef up security and overcome the issue of phantom voters, which is frequently raised by the opposition during elections.

“The use of the biometric system will also help in preventing an individual or a voter from casting vote twice,” EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof told a press conference here, reported Bernama.

(Source)

And

The EC had said that it would introduce the biometric system for the coming parliamentary election.

But state DAP secretary Chong Chieng Jen thinks otherwise.

“The biometric system can still be manipulated.

“Secondly, it is too costly. The EC needs to have thumb-print reader in every stream and in every polling station.

“It’s not practical. We would prefer the EC to use the indelible ink. It is much cheaper. This is our party’s stand,” he said.

(Source)

And

With regards to indelible ink, it is used among countries which have no identification system, such as Africa and India.

They have not reached our level yet. We only have 12 million voters. Why should we turn our system backwards when we have reached this level of technological advancement? The reason there is a push for the use of indelible ink is due to fear of double-voting, but we have an adequate system to handle voter identification and it is nearly impossible for people to register twice.

We only have one identification number, and one identification card. That is why we are seriously considering the biometric system.

(Source)

Yes, biometric is more high tech and with a comprehensive national identification system as the backbone, it makes a lot of sense to use biometrics instead of indelible ink. And yet, indelible ink seems to be the right option for Malaysia right now for simple reasons:-

1. It is cheap. Certainly it is cheaper than acquiring and configuring the biometric system (with huge commission paid to crony linked companies in disguise of maintenance and other matters?) and then spending time and resources on comprehensive testing to ensure it does not go down at the very crucial.

2. It is fail-proof. Being in the IT industry for “some time” now, one thing is clear to me – no system is bug free and if you screw up on your development and testing, the system will bite you back on your backside when you least expect it. Can you imagine the horrors when you and your family members go down to cast your votes and when they scan your fingers, the biometrics system returns a reply that your name is not in the list. Compare that with a simple indelible ink – all one need to do is to ensure it is tagged on the finger of those who have voted and the same person does not come back to vote for the second time.

The indelible ink was to be used in the last general election but EC withdraw it at the last minutes, citing “public order and security issues”. But then again, the use of biometrics system does not mean the shortcomings of having phantom votes will be resolved as well. Then there is a question of whether EC, despite proposing biometrics system in the first place, is really ready to implement them in the up-coming general elections. Have they done enough testing and prepared the necessary procedures and backups to ensure that the system is truly robust, hack-proof and works well?

Bersih chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan raised concerns whether the proposed biometric system could be implemented before the next general election, and also whether the system would rely on data from the National Registration Department (NRD).

The Election Commission (EC), she said, must furnish to the public more details on the biometric system before rushing to implement it.

“The EC must explain everything in full; will it be ready by GE13?

“The data has to also be of integrity; will it rely on data provided from the NRD? If the biometric system is tied to the NRD, and if the department cannot determine which voters are deceased, then this is a grave concern,” she said during a public forum here with EC deputy chairman Datuk Wira Wan Ahmad Wan Omar.

In response, Wan Ahmad said the biometric system would be the “best way” to solve the problems concerning the current electoral roll.

“Through fingerprint scans, no two persons will have the same biometry. When it is ready, the biometric system will be matched with 12 million registered voters,” he said.

But the EC deputy head was mum when asked by reporters later whether it could implement the new system by the next general election.

“Elections are up to when Parliament is dissolved… We can only speculate, but we don’t know when that is,” he told a news conference.

(Source)

Here lies the danger of still insisting for the biometrics system before the system is really ready for implementation. This is why the call for use of indelible ink is still valid. We cannot prolong the shortcomings in the election process (one that been admitted by the EC themselves). So why not use it until the biometrics system is really ready and fail-proof?