GEORGE TOWN - When in doubt, leave it out - that seems to be the motto of Malaysians who like to have their fingernails painted as they get ready to vote in the General Election on Saturday.
With the Election Commission advising voters to come with their hands and nails clean, those with painted nails have decided that they should not risk being denied the chance to vote.
They are worried that painted nails coated with gel polish (methacrylate polymer) may cause problems when they are required to dip their index fingers into the bottles of indelible ink at the polling stations.
The solution? Have the nail polish removed from either one or both index fingers.
And that is good news for manicurists in George Town, a city in Penang. Many have been practically working non-stop removing gel polish, which takes about 15 minutes.
Gels have to be removed by soaking in acetone, a solvent, for at least 10 minutes, while traditional nail polish can be easily wiped away with nail polish remover.
Ms Riko Tang, 30, who runs a nail salon in the city, said she is fully booked by clients for gel polish removal.
“Clients have been coming in all week to have their gel polish removed. Many are worried that they might be turned away from balloting if they have nail polish on,” she said. “When you have gel coat on your nails, it needs to be professionally removed.”
Ms Tang said she had been advising clients not to get their fingers painted until after they vote. Her appointment slots are also filled for the next few days with those who want their fingernails repainted right after voting.
Another manicurist is offering free nail polish removal for her customers’ index fingers. Ms Doris Ch’ng, 20, said she would reapply the polish at no charge after her customers return from voting. “It is our way of thanking them for exercising their right to vote,” she said.
Manicurist Eve Kung, 36, said she had removed her own nail polish so she could go to vote with clean nails. “I have not decided on a colour to repaint, but I will probably go for something dark to mask the ink if it does not come off,” she said.
Ms Mabel Chua, a former advertising sales support executive, said she was told by her manicurist that her light pink gel nail polish would not be a problem.
“I was told as long as my nails are not painted to promote any political party or show my inclination, it is not a problem,” said Ms Chua. THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK.