Malaysia

EC chief and deputy accused of being Umno members

By Shannon Teoh
April 26, 2012

Aziz and his commission have also been accused of being indifferent towards reforming the election system. — File picAziz and his commission have also been accused of being indifferent towards reforming the election system. — File picKUALA LUMPUR, April 26 — Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof and his deputy, Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar, were accused today of being Umno members, with a senior PKR official alleging that he had evidence of their membership in the ruling party, Sinar Harian has reported.

The duo have come under intense scrutiny in the past year over claims of fraud in election practices and the electoral roll as federal polls draw near.

“I know Aziz’s membership number and I have information on which branch Tan Sri Aziz and his deputy are from.

“This is the only EC in the world where its chief and his deputy are officially members of a party that contests elections,” Sinar Harian quoted PKR secretary-general Datuk Saifuddin Nasution as saying.

The Machang MP then challenged the duo to prove they were not members of the senior party in the ruling coalition, failing which he would reveal the branches to which he alleged they belong.

He also told the Malay-language national daily that Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia, who quit from Kota Marudu Umno when he was appointed Dewan Rakyat Speaker in 2008, had informed him that the EC’s top two officers were still party members.

The EC was heavily criticised in the lead-up to Bersih’s rally for free and fair elections on July 9 last year in which tens of thousands flooded the streets of the capital in chaotic scenes that saw over 1,500 arrested, scores injured and the death of an ex-soldier.

Widespread condemnation of the Najib administration’s clampdown saw Putrajaya make major concessions including announcing a bipartisan parliamentary select committee to look into improving the electoral system.

During the committee’s six-month tenure, Pakatan Rakyat (PR) accused the EC of not being committed to reforms and eventually rejected the panel’s findings.

Early this month, Bersih, a coalition of 84 civil societies, also announced a sit-in protest at Dataran Merdeka for this Saturday, saying the findings select committee was disappointing and did not meet its demands for electoral reform.

Abdul Aziz became EC chairman on January 2009 while Wan Ahmad was appointed in 2007.