However, she gives the commission’s top officers the benefit of the doubt until all details surface.
However, she said she would give EC Chairman Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusoff and his deputy, Wan Ahmad Wan Omar, the benefit of the doubt until the issue had been clarified.
“I was shocked beyond belief, but whether they still are Umno members has yet to be established,” she told reporters today.
She said the two should have disclosed their ties with Umno even if they were no longer members of the party. “The least they could have done was to disclose the information on the EC’s website.”
She was responding to PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution’s statement in the daily Sinar Harian that Abdul Aziz was a member of Umno’s Sri Ampang branch and Wan Ahmad a member of the Kubang Bunggor branch in Pasir Mas.
“It does show partisanship,” Ambiga said, “but to be fair to them evidence has yet to come out in full.”
Both Abdul Aziz and Wan Ahmad have responded to Saifuddin’s revelation, saying that they may have been registered as members decades ago but have remained inactive.
Abdul Aziz told Sinar Harian: “I can’t even remember which branch I was with because after I completed my studies, I lived in several areas.
Wan Ahmad said he could have been been registered in the 1970s or 1980s in Gombak, Damansara or Subang Jaya division, adding: “I have never bothered to find out. I am not a politician, but a government servant and I still am to this day. I’m telling the truth.”
They both said the EC’s independence was unaffected by their affiliation to Umno.
Ambiga seized on Wan Ahmad’s reference to himself as a “government servant”.
“That is what we call a Freudian slip,” she said. “He thinks he serves the government.”
She said the presumed bias for the government was precisely the problem with the EC.
This matter comes up just as Bersih is set to have its third rally tomorrow. The election watchdog has three specific demands: the immediate resignation of the EC heads, allow international observers to monitor the coming election and the implementation of all reforms recommended by the Parliamentary Select Committee before the upcoming polls.