KUALA LUMPUR (June 26): Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today said an approved food colouring was used to replace the chemical used in the indelible ink purchased for the 13th general election.
In a written reply to Lim Lip Eng (DAP-Segambut), Najib, who is also finance minister, explained that the expiry date for the indelible ink is four months from the date it was manufactured.
"The ink was imported from overseas," he said, adding that government had allocated RM400 million for the 13th general election. However, he did not say how much was spent on the indelible ink purchase.
“The resistance of the indelible ink is subject to the individual and the effort used to get rid of the permanent ink,” he said.
Lim, in his question, asked the prime minister to state the total expenditure as well as the contractors who supplied the indelible ink used during the national polls.
Najib added that the public tests on the indelible ink made by Election Commission (EC) officers to the media on May 2 proved that the ink was permanent as previously stated.
Najib had also confirmed that a total of 216,600 bottles were distributed across the country.
Johor had the highest number with 38,160 bottles followed by Selangor (32,040), Perak (20,640), Sarawak (18,000) and Sabah (16,800).
EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof has previously claimed the indelible ink has a low level of silver nitrate and herbal ingredients were used to substitute the amount of the silver nitrate, thus, making it easily removed.
Anthony Loke (DAP-Seremban) later told parliament that the EC had responded in a written answer that RM7.1 million was used to purchase the indelible ink but refused to reveal who were the suppliers to “protect national security.”