BY JENNIFER GOMEZ
"I am horrified and shocked by this." This was the reaction of Bersih co-chair Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan when asked to comment on the latest furore in Parliament today after it was revealed that food colouring had been used instead of chemicals in the indelible ink used to mark voters' fingers in the May 5 polls.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim, in his reply to Segambut Member of Parliament Lim Lip Eng, admitted that the ink was not what it was supposed to be.
His statement was in stark contrast with the Election Commission's claim that it used silver nitrate in the ink. He also said that the absence of the chemical was the reason the ink was easily washed off.
Ambiga said the EC's story on the ink kept changing and called for an independent investigation into the election body.
"And did we pay RM7 million of taxpayers' money for food colouring? We need go get to the bottom of this. This revelation underscores Bersih's view that the EC leadership should resign," she added.
Shahidan had also said that the expiry date of the indelible ink was four months from the date it was issued but blamed voters for purposely trying to wash off the ink as the reason why it was not permanent. "How long the ink remains depends on the individual and the efforts put in to wash it off."
In a written response, Shahidan also told Parliament that RM6.9 million had been spent on the ink, and an additional RM200,000 spent on transportation, packaging and storage, bringing the total expenditure to RM7.1 million.
Following the outcry after the polls, EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof had also announced the formation of a special task force to investigate the reasons why the ink could be easily washed off. - June 26, 2013.
~ The Malaysian Insider