PETALING JAYA, Malaysia - Indelible ink was used for the first time in the country's election history to mark security forces and their spouses.
The ink, which had been a closely-kept secret, was unveiled as a shade of red known as merah buah saga (red bead) and has natural ingredients.
However, a different colour will be used on polling day on May 5, said Election Commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof.
Yesterday saw the security forces and their spouses turning up in droves to cast their votes ahead of polling day on Sunday.
A total of 235,826 personnel and their spouses were eligible for advance voting of which 146,678 were armed forces personnel and their spouses, 89,148 police personnel as well as General Operations Force personnel and their spouses.
They voted in various military and police training centres as well as army camps and state police headquarters.
They were the second batch among the country's 13.3 million electorate to cast their votes for the 13th general election. Overseas Malaysians were the first group to vote at 100 Malaysian missions overseas last Sunday.
Abdul Aziz said 272,387 policemen, army personnel and General Operations Force and their spouses were registered as advance voters, of which 36,561 were postal voters.
He said the advance voting, which took place at 544 polling stations nationwide from 8am to 7pm, proceeded smoothly.
"This is the first time the EC has introduced advance voting and I am very satisfied that everything went on smoothly.
"There were also no smudges on the ballot paper. The ink dries quickly. We provided tissues but not many were used," he said, after observing the voting process at the Wardieburn Camp here. He had earlier visited the voting centre at the Pulapol training centre in Jalan Semarak.