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Explanation on EC duo comes too little, too late

 | May 10, 2012

Government's explanation that the EC heads were ex-Umno members comes too little, too late and hardly helps improve public perception of the commission, says Bersih.

PETALING JAYA: The government’s explanation that the Election Commission’s (EC) top two heads are no longer Umno members comes too little, too late, said Bersih’s S Ambiga.

“It has taken the government a long time to respond to the matter and we still don’t know the facts of the matter,” said the Bersih co-chair.

Ambiga was responding to Minister in the Prime Minister’s department, Nazri Abdul Aziz’s statement that EC chairman, Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof’s Umno membership had lapsed 30 years ago.

Nazri said yesterday: “(Abdul Aziz) was registered by members of a surau who were all Umno members. In fact the surau members paid his membership fees”.

He stressed that the commision’s chairman was no longer an Umno member. The issue first came up two days before Bersih 3.0’s rally for free and fair election on April 28.

PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution alleged that both the commision’s chairman Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof and its deputy, Wan Ahmad Wan Omar were Umno members.

Saifuddin, in an interview with local Malay daily Sinar Harian, revealed that Abdul Aziz was a member of Umno’s Sri Ampang branch while Wan Ahmad from the Kubang Bunggor branch in Pasir Mas.

In an immediate response, both Abdul Aziz and Wan Ahmad did not deny that they were registered as Umno members. Both of them claimed they were no longer active members.

Wan Ahmad later changed his stance and denied that he was an Umno member and said that he has never been a party member since he joined the EC on May 1, 1998.

Ambiga said today that merely coming up with statements would not suffice.

“The facts must be made public. What are their membership details, those must be disclosed. I understand that during the “old Umno” days it was easier to register anyone,” she said.

She added that this was important because the EC occupied a “positions of trust”.

“They are not people who are employed in any other government agency. These are people who are occupying positions of trust,” said Ambiga.

Wong Chin Huat, a member of Bersih’s Steering Committee, meanwhile, said that Nazri’s explanation will not affect the people’s perception of the EC as tainted body.

“Even with the explanation, people will judge the EC based on their previous records,” he said adding that the perception that the EC is ineffective has already been established.

He said that the delayed response by the government did not to any favours to clear the air.


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