Brave New World (The Star)
17 November 2011
Why must the use of indelible ink need a constitutional amendment? If you have the right to vote under Article 119 and as long as that right is not taken away from you, there should be no problem.
I HAVE always advocated respect for the Constitution and constitutionalism. I had no idea that the Attorney-General was of the same mindset.
In fact, he is so concerned about ensuring the Constitution is adhered to that he seems to have spotted constitutional issues where there appear to be none at all.
You see, according to him, if we were to use indelible ink during our elections, where those who have voted will be smeared with a bit of ink to ensure they don’t vote again, it would require an amendment to Article 119 of the Constitution.
Dutifully, I whipped out my copy of the Constitution and checked out the said article. Good news, it does exist and furthermore it is about the electorate.
Examining Article 119, I see that it is about who is entitled to vote. Basically you can vote if you are a citizen who is past the age of 21, resident in your constituency (or an absent voter), duly registered, not mad and not a convict.
I read it and I read it again, but I can’t for the life of me see how the use of indelible ink is going to need a constitutional amendment.
In essence, Article 119 is about who can vote. If you have the right to vote under Article 119 and as long as that right is not taken away from you, I don’t see what the problem is.
You can smear my index finger with indelible purple or draw an intricate pattern on my face as a sign that I have voted if that’s what you want, but as long as you don’t stop me from actually voting, there’s nothing unconstitutional here.
I tell you what should be amended though; the need to register to be a voter. Why can’t we just be automatically registered once we have reached the age of 21? It’s not difficult to ascertain a Malaysian citizen who is over 21; they are the ones with the blue identity cards which say their birthday is over 21 years ago. See, simple.
I like simple things. For example, I like the simple pleasure of making a cross on a piece of paper next to the candidate of my choice.
I like that if you can count, you can count the votes.
I like that anybody can check if there is hanky panky in the electoral process because checking little pieces of paper does not require any sort of qualification.
I don’t like complex things like e-voting. It sits uncomfortable with me that my vote is converted into electronic form and then disappears into the ether where who knows what’s being done to it.
All I want is to go with my MyKad to a voting centre, get my piece of unmarked voting paper slip and a pencil, make my choice, get my finger or whatever digit they choose smeared with ink, then leave knowing I have done my civic duty. Simple.
Maybe that is why I can’t see what the AG is getting at, I am far too simple.