Where are the ink smugglers? - Malaysiakini
Athi Veeranggan Mar 24, 08 5:11pm
Athi Veeranggan Mar 24, 08 5:11pm
Several NGOs in Penang want the Attorney General to charge the four suspects, who were allegedly arrested with illegal possession of smuggled indelible ink during the recent general election campaign, in court immediately.
Malaysian Voters Union coordinator BK Ong said that the police should not conveniently forget about the case and sweep it under the carpet just because the election was over and the people were not talking about it.
He said that since the police chief, Attorney General and Election Commission chairperson had claimed openly that four men were arrested for attempting to commit election fraud with the smuggled indelible ink, it was only appropriate that the suspects were charged in court with correct charges.
He added it was imperative for the police to produce them in court, charge them and show evidence in an open trial for the people.
"It would uphold our democratic value and enhance police reputation. Police and other relevant authorities would silence the critics, who claimed that the case was non-existent in the first place," he said.
The EC had initially planned to introduce the marking of voters' index finger with indelible ink prior to balloting in this year's national polls to curb electoral frauds such as the alleged existence of phantom and multiple voters.
The marking with indelible ink however was not legalised as compulsory but rather was to be introduced on optional basis as a trial run.
The government spent about RM2.4 million to buy the ink from an accredited Mysore-based company in India.
A few days before polling on March 8, Election Commission chief Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman, Attorney General Abdul Gani Patail and Inspector General of Police Musa Hassan told the country that the introduction of indelible ink had been halted.
The trio claimed that the decision was made when it was found that the principle of a free and fair election had been compromised with the arrest of four people - two in Perlis and one each in Kedah and Kelantan, for allegedly attempting to commit election fraud with smuggled indelible ink.
Justify the excuse
Following the decision, angry voters sprayed and smeared Abdul Rashid home with red paint. EC was criticised for wasting public funds to buy the ink.Analysis said the "no to indelible ink" decision was another reason for the massive swing of votes away from Barisan Nasional.
According to Musa, initial investigation revealed that the four have allegedly planned to mark the ink on index fingers of unsuspecting voters in rural areas to stop them from casting their ballots.
Although voters were perturbed by possible election fraud, Ong said many felt that the EC's immediate ban on the ink was sub-judicial and hasty since police were yet to prove their case in the court of law.
Until today the police have yet to produce the suspects publicly in court to obtain a remand order on them.
Many voters were also amazed that the police did not publicise their `catch' to the media world when it was a contentious subject of utmost importance to the country's democratic system.
Even a fortnight after the polls, the AG Chambers are yet to charge them in court with election fraud.Social reform movement Aliran’s treasurer Anil Netto said Malaysians have the right to know about the details of the police probe into the case."It's imperative for the police to reveal the contents of their investigations.
Otherwise Malaysians would think that the police and other related agencies have failed to justify their excuse to prohibit the indelible ink in the election."An open statement on the matter would rest doubts in people's minds," he said.