Indelible or inedible?

Renowned social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram were plastered with photos of voters who had successfully removed the indelible ink from their fingers today, hours after they had performed their duties as responsible Malaysians by casting the ballots.

Majority of them used detergents such as Bleach, Clorox and even Dettol to remove the blue smear from their fingers. Some voters were able to completely remove the ink while majority of them still retained the ink’s presence at the crevices of their fingers.

I myself had conducted a mini experiment here in Temerloh, visiting various polling sites, testing out to see if the ink which was claimed “delible” by certain quarters was really true by pouring Dettol over the fingers of voters who had just casted their ballots today (the photos are in my Instagram account: ribhkus).

Nearly all of them retained the indelible ink after using the Dettol hand sanitizer to force the ink out using a tissue paper. Most of them I tried this on retained 80 per cent of their inks. However there was one voter out of the four who claimed that his ink could be removed just by rinsing using water. I wasn’t there when he rinsed it, so I can’t say if he was lying or telling the truth.

Following that, I did however requested many friends and followers on my Facebook page to tag me in photos if they had managed to completely remove the ink.

The results were terrifying.

Kamalesan Subramaniam’s finger, ink’s presence is there at the crevices.

A stream of tags came in, with some revealing nearly 95 per cent of the ink being removed.

Ink on Ashwini Nair’s finger 95% removed.

The Election Commission (EC) had defended previously after the postal voting last week, that the ink could be removed because the bottle was failed to be stirred or shaken by the EC officers.

There had been a plethora of Facebook photos and statuses shared requesting voters to ensure that the bottles be shaken or stirred (this sounds like a James Bond moment here) to avoid this conundrum but everyone I had interviewed here in Temerloh failed to do so. One voter said that it was the EC officer’s job to do it, which is correct, but isn’t it better to take precaution?

With that in mind, I had requested everyone through my status updates to ensure that the request the officer to shake and stir the bottles well before they (the voters) were inked.

The result was equally terrifying. One voter, Ashwin Mathialagan said that he did indeed request the EC officer to shake and stir the bottle. The blue smear on his index finger was completely removed albeit it’s presence could still be seen at the crevices of his finger.

Selvakumar Subramaniam’s finger

All said and done, the question to the Election Commission is this: what’s going on? The indelible ink is supposed to remain permanently on a voter’s finger for at least seven days. But voters were able to remove them in a matter of hours.

A reporter friend of mine said that despite the ink being removed, it’s presence can still be detected through the use of UV light. But with what has taken place, voters are starting to question this too.

Ashwin Mathialagan who followed my advise of asking the EC officer to stir/shake the bottle


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